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“Daddy. Can we walk this way?”

The little boy looked up at his father at the same time he began to pull his father’s hand to go down the side street. The father allowed him to lead, the little boy skipping alongside. They were about halfway down the street when the little boy stopped and pointed. {{more}}

“Daddy. Look! Why is that man lying up against the building?”

His father looked over to where his son was pointing. There, sitting up against the brick wall was an old, grizzled black man was. A black baseball cap over his eyes, a dirty sweatshirt, jeans with holes in them, and muddy sneakers. In his arms, a bottle was wrapped in a paper bag. He did not look up or make an effort to connect.

The father turned to his son and said, “Son, it is a man who is down on his luck. Unfortunately, he is probably living in the streets.”

“But Dad! What can we do?”

“Son, what would you like to do?”

A rapid conversation went on between the father and son. They walked off with the young boy’s hand in his father’s. Down the street, they went.

A little woman looked out of the window of her kitchen. She saw the man against the wall. Like so many others, she saw on this street, he was yet another casualty of the system. The world had taken its toll on them. When her husband was alive, he would make sandwiches and put them in a cooler with cans of soda. Each day, he would get up early and make the sandwiches, occasionally getting small packages of chips to put out with the cooler.

The little boy and his father had entered into the deli on the corner of the street. The bell on the door tinkling, the father headed to the sandwich counter at the back of the store.

“I would like a ham and cheese grinder, with lettuce, tomato, and onions. Mayo and mustard. Please put a pickle on the side. I will be back in a minute.”

Taking his son’s hand, he went over to a chip rack and picked up a bag of chips, then heading to the glass cooler, and took out a carton of milk. They walked back to the counter, and placing the items on the counter, he reached into his pocket and pulled out his wallet. He paid for the groceries and placed the bag into his young son’s hands. He barely placed the money in his wallet, before his son raced to the door.

“Dad, Dad, Dad!!! HURRY UP!”

The father laughed and caught up to the little boy. They headed towards the man who was sleeping against the wall.

“Mister, mister! Wake up!”

He was gently tapping the man’s shoulder. The man moved, and the little boy moved back a bit away from him.

“What is it, boy?”

“Mister, we bought you some lunch.”

He handed the bag with the sandwich to the man and placed the chips and milk next to the man.

The man looked up. A tear rolled down the man’s cheek as he looked at the bag. The little boy was smiling and his father had a smile on his face.

“Thank you,” The old man said. “Thank you.”

He started to get up and the boy’s father said, “There is no need. Just enjoy the food.”

“Have a good day, mister!”

The old man started to say something, but no words came out. He watched the father and son head down the street.

(To be continued…)

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