Believe in the Flowers.

Carol of the Zombie Jesus!

He's an older man, probably in his late forties or early fifties. He's overweight, has short gray hair, and always wears a pair of sunglasses. He doesn't move, stares straight ahead, and usually has a couple of small bags on the ground beside him - a plastic shopping bag and a McDonald's bag, usually nothing else. Every time I've seen him, he's in the same dirty old gray t-shirt and jeans that were probably once white but are now more of a stained smoky color. I've only seen him in two places: just outside one of the entrances to Wal-Mart, or at the Broadway entrance to the Prairie Crossing shopping center, where Buffalo Wild Wings, Best Buy, Lowe's, Kohl's, and TJ Maxx are. I've never seen him walking around, or driving a car, or riding a bus. I've never seen him at home or at work, or out in the community doing something - be it shopping for groceries, or in a park, or at an event.

I guess this guy wouldn't normally have any reason to stick out in my mind. He's kind of a typical-looking man, the sort of grandpa-type figure that looks like he should be sitting out on a porch on a chilly morning in a flannel shirt, enjoying the breeze and sipping a cup of coffee. Instead, he's always holding a sign. It isn't inciting violence, nor demanding protest, or begging for the end of some war or another. It's a simple cardboard sign, maybe a foot and a half long and a foot tall, with words drawn on in black Sharpie, all capitol letters. It reads,


I don't see him at the entrance to Wal-Mart anymore, as I think they probably banned him from the property. I don't know where he sleeps at night, nor what he does during the day when he isn't spending hours standing outside, hoping for something, though who knows what. I have no idea if he's capable actually performing work, or what left him without a job but with too much pride to find another way to fix his problems. I don't know if he has a physical or mental condition that keeps him from working the way you or I might, if he has any education, or if he supports anyone besides himself (my guess would be no). I feel bad for the poor guy, on more than one level, and I have a lot of questions about him that will probably never get answered. I want to help - don't get me wrong - but more often than not, I'm busy trying to take care of myself, my husband, and my son. Being alive costs a lot anymore, and it's rough to take even a dollar or five out of our budget to give it to a man that I can't promise won't spend it on alcohol, or drugs, or something like that.

He isn't the only (assumedly) homeless man in Quincy. I haven't seen him for a while, but there was another older man with a Santa-type beard. He too was bigger, but he always looked pleasant enough, carrying his few belongings down Broadway. There's another that scoots around in a wheelchair; I can only assume he doesn't stand up and push or pull it out of fear that if he does, someone will realize he stole it and doesn't need it, and thus will call the police. But a seemingly disabled man in a wheelchair? Nobody will call the police on him.

Meanwhile, and totally unrelatedly, there is my mother. I think that at some point she was given the option of being either a friendly, attractive, kind woman who took life in stride and used her money responsibly but never accomplished much, or the kind of woman that didn't really like anyone, mismanaged her funds, was easily irritated and had the world's shortest temper, but could get done twice as much housework in an hour as any other human being alive. I think we know which option she took. Now, I love my mother, and I value all of the things she has done for me, but sometimes I don't understand her. Despite all of our moving efforts and the things that still need to be done in this searing heat, she expects us to clean her entire house during the day and do a menagerie of chores that, when you factor in meals and subsequent dishes, and taking care of Gabe during the day, will take ALL day from the time we get up to well after the time she comes home from work. The "best" part is when she comes home and sees what has yet to be accomplished, which leads to a mad dash on her behalf to finish up everything that still has to be done, no matter what it is, immediately after stepping inside, as though she's on some kind of time limit and if she doesn't get the living room floor vaccumed - or, at least, if SOMEONE doesn't - within the hour after she gets back, the world WILL implode and then who will vaccum? Certainly not her.

Last but not least, we have work, and yes, it has been going quite well thank you very much. I'm not a huge fan of Staples but I love being able to go to Best Buy. It's a blast. And for now, that is all.