Picture this

I did not get the shot.

I cruised down Gilham Road, 7:30 a.m., thinking about nothing other than getting to 12th street before the last handicapped spot got filled.  I passed a car, darting into the left lane but looking swiftly over my right shoulder as I moved beyond.  Then I saw it:  On the sidewalk; a shopping cart, heaped with somebody’s junk, with a red, white, and blue afghan spilling out of the front, trailing forward as though left by a fleeing, frightened man.

I did not get the shot.

I considered changing lanes, turning right, coming around the block and pulling alongside.  I thought about the time; about the two-block walk if I did not get a space.  I glanced at the clock on the Prius’s dash, subtracted the four-minute variance, contemplated the tightness of the narrow window after which my lily-white spastic legs would have to hobble from the Oak Street garage.  I continued driving, merging with the traffic past the western edge of Hospital Hill, downward and over the viaduct into downtown.

I did not get the shot.

I sat in my parking space watching other cars whip into their own, waiting until the courthouse would open, clutching my security pass so I would not forget it.  I wondered who had left the cart; why the beautiful bright blanket tumbled from its rusty metal edges.  Where did the owner go, when he abandoned his earthly possessions in front of a quiet house at 33rd and Gilham?

After court, I thought about going back.  But I realized that I had left my cell phone on the clerk’s desk.  I parked illegally, activated the flashers, and made a mad dash for the handicapped access.  I swear I got back in five minutes but Parking Control had already pulled along side.  My crazy walking sent me into a stagger as I bolted down the sidewalk.  My hip gave out as I fell from the curb and pulled the driver’s door open.

By the time I got to midtown, that cart and its absent owner had faded from my mind.

But now I remember and I wonder.  I worry.

I did not get the picture; I will never know.

It’s the nineteenth day of the twenty-eighth month of My Year Without Complaining.  My list of ills is long, but counted among them is not:  Homeless with only one red, white, and blue afghan to warm me on these chilly April nights.  Life continues.



In looking for pictures of red, white, and blue afghans I found this photo.  It illustrates a site inviting browsers to “Join Our Charity Knit-Along”.  The title of the JPEG is “Mr. Jones”.  Funny.  But now I am haunted by the thought of Mr. Jones; of his old body, stumbling away, leaving his blanket behind him as he ran from God-Knows-What.

 For information on knitting blankets and other items for people in need, check out these sites, which I found by Googling “red, white, and blue afghans” and discovering the picture of Mr. Jones.  I did not vet these sites.  There might be local projects among them.  And maybe you will find your Mr. Jones, and your handiwork will warm him.

Charity Knit-Along

The Knitting Guild Association – Links Page

Scarves for Troops

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