Give us this day

I had a nice encounter on the way back from my 3 mile run up and down the LA River bikepath. I noticed a group of 20-somethings and "local" residents milling around the entrance to the bikepath. "Hmm" I wonder what that's about. On my way back, a woman with big, poofy, frizzy hair hollered me down. "Want something to eat? Come on we've got plenty to share!" Lima was her name. She lived under the 6th street Freeway ramp. I tried a few polite ways to turn her down, knowing that such food wasn't intended for those with a steady income. She insisted.

The 20-something men and women are from some Christian youth group, they really didn't get into all the details and I only overhead someone in the background mention their affiliation. Lima was the talkative one, with a few others in the back enjoying the Shepherd's pie and cornmeal. They served me some too (running makes you hungry!). I sat down, trying to think of what I could say that wouldn't draw attention to, or make light of, the situation that these residents live with. So I decided on, "have you lived in Long Beach your whole life?"

That's a good question to ask because one thing I've learned from my students is that there's a lot of pride in where you're from. Lima said, "yes" as she took Scott's guitar to sing some songs. She had a soul-driven voice and played the guitar with equal emotion. As she sang her own version of "Soul Rebel" by Bob Marley, I knew I would never discount homeless camps as void of beauty. What was Lima doing here with she could take her voice to share with others in caf├ęs and bars? She may have her reasons or hurdles to climb.

Perhaps I can return Tuesdays at 7 to get to know her and the others a little more. It certainly made my day to make the connection.

1 comment:

Geoffrey Philp's Blog Spot said...

waiting for more.


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