Hard Knock Life


While on a run tonight my thoughts turned to Thanksgiving a few years back. I know I’m happy to be alive because there is a lot to be grateful for in this life. Every year, the sheriff of Orleans Parish puts on a big lunch for those in need: the homeless, the shut ins, and the ‘levee done broke’, worn down people of the lower 9th ward. It’s worth a vote for him and of that I am certain. That’s how it rolls in N’awlins. Afterwards, my mind took my feet on a run toward Bourbon St. about the time they’re hosing the grimy streets down from the night before, onto Canal when I came upon two men, each sharing a cigarette butt from days in the future that have already passed. A swindler knows a swindle, like a con knows a con. I do know that you don’t go to a funeral at 8 o’clock in the morning; that’s an old street line, fellas. The circles woven in their faces told a story of a forgotten time and place; filth embedded in their hair and hands, each having fallen in the gap and never recovered. Behind each hollow, blood-shot eye, their thoughts raced and turned in a survival tone as they shared their stories. I wanted to know so I stopped and asked. After all, I’ve slept on concrete slabs myself, too wasted to care. The old me would have never thought twice. In the end, they got what they wanted which was a 40 ounce tall boy, split two ways because sometimes life gets hard and can turn on it’s last dime. The brain gets tired, and it fades long before the soul does. Chances are they were someone’s father, son, brother, uncle, or long lost friend. All they had were each other, one looking out and panhandling while the other slept. I reminded them that as long as there is breath, there is hope. The same hope that lives in each of us, a Spirit that is able to sustain even as our own candles are flickering out…..good day!….b

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