Dana lives in Seattle, and Tracie lives in Germany. We are businesswomen, writers and humorists. We write about life, dating, and today's modern women.
Twenty plus years later, and he still stands on the corner of 4th and Pike panhandling. As I walk by and look at his pock-marked skin, soiled raggedy clothes, and deteriorating teeth, I recall a glimpse of my former contract laborer. He was young, ambitious, and quite talented when my mom and I hired him over two decades ago to be a part of our maintenance crew. He came from a well off Mercer Island family. He was educated, and privileged, however, addiction does not discriminate and his parents put him out. I shake my head as I approach. S, I say his name as I don’t have the heart to sneak by and avert eye attention. “Dana! hey, come on now. Help me out.” He shakes from withdrawals as he shoves the dirty warped Starbucks cup in my direction. His face is smeared with dirty residue and I can only imagine the last time hot water and soap embraced his skin. His body is a testament to the strength of the human body. He’s still in his 40’s, but after 2 decades of life on the streets without medical attention, proper shelter, and nutrition, I marvel that he is still alive. It is said the eyes are the key to the soul. I stare at him, and I recall the soul of the diligent young workman who offered and stayed in a vacant house we were remodeling to protect the tongue and groove cedar from potential bandits until we could get it hung. “S, You know, I won’t give you money,” I lament. I can’t fathom participating in the addiction. It’s agreed I would return with a bite of food.
The saga continues and it is real. Just take a drive through downtown Seattle where homeless tents are launched next to new construction. Often the honey buckets temporary toilets are shared laboratories for workmen and homeless. The irony of the disparity is disturbing.
My 15 year old daughter just returned from Urban Plunge, an experience which takes high school sophomores on the streets to experience life as a homeless person. On Sunday afternoon, 38 young men and women met at their high school gymnasium and checked in their cell phones, money and all creature comforts to experience the other side. They broke into small groups, where Taryn’s first stop was OSL Operation Sack Lunch. Other locations the students serviced include include Northwest Harvest, Union Gospel Mission and the YWCA. Along with service to the community, sophomores experience a simulated shelter in the gym, as well as a two dollar budget the next morning with which breakfast must be purchased.
I asked Taryn what was her biggest take-away from the experience. She said experiencing the gratitude in those they served.
This was not Taryn’s first time out on the streets at night. We have participated in UGM Union Gospel Mission search and rescue. See Menopausebarbees post http://www.menopausebarbees.com/?s=search+and+rescue
The organizations that service the last, least and lost are up for Best of Washington. Please take a moment and cast your vote… For every homeless person we walk past, they too, like my former workman, S have a past. Let’s support and give them a future.