Christmas Day 2012
I hit the streets late afternoon, I admit it I was being lazy! But after I loaded up my car with a ton of backpacks and had the bag of mini-bundt cakes Faith and I made (great idea Faith!) She bought a ton of pans and this was a great reason to use them. We made a ton to fill about 40 bags with goodies!
I hit a good stretch of road starting on the east side at 94 and Cadiuex, then down throug Hamtramck and up to McNichols (6 mile) then up to 8 mile and 75. Then back downtown through GreekTown and the surrounding area and ended by MGM Casino.
Here are tid bits on the day:
I met Ted at the corner of Cadieux and the I94 highway. he was very thankful. and told me Merry Christmas numerous times.
After leaving him I decided to check the kitty-corner exit ramp to see if anyone was there. That is where I met Leroy Daniels who after I gave him a bag asked me if I could stop by the opposite corner (that I was just at) to help out the guy. He then told me it was his cousin. I asked him if his name was Ted, he was like ‘Yea…teddy!! The presidents name.” I was confused and then I asked if his name really was Teddy Roosevelt and he told me yup it was! I told him I had already helped him out. He thanked me and wished me a Merry Christmas. How nice of him to look out for someone else on the streets!
Cruised Hamtown looking for Smokey. But no luck. So then I decided to call Donna.Not even sure if her number was still connected. I had met her when I volunteered at St.Lads soup kitchen. She was under housed, had no heat, very little water and I would give her a ride home sometimes. She had a bum leg and it was a long walk, so why not.
We swapped numbers and over the last year she called me quite a bit and I helped her by taking her to the grocer, taking her to a friends house who is in her 90s so she could take her food. (that little old lady was great!) I sent folks to Donnas to look at her leaky faucets, I gave her a heater and tons of handwarmers and blankets, thankfully we had a mild winter last year. But I have not heard from her in awhile, in fact not since I got her a ton of information on how to not lose her house, I got her an interview at Value World and gave her a bunch of other info on how to find other housing. I don’t feel like she owes me anything…just curious. So that is why I called…but there was no answer. Still I drove to her house knowing she is very ocd about visitors esp. unannounced. I knocked and waited, nothing, A neighbor watched me, and I hated to just leave it, but I left a bag on a sheet of paper on the porch. I know she is really huge on germs so I hope the sheet of paper would ‘protect’ the bag. I hope she gets it.
I headed north from there. I met Melvin at the McNichols ramp to I-75. He’s been on the streets for about ten years. Super sweet..nice man, big guy with a big red beard, gentle voice and smoking a cigarette. He even let me take his photo! I asked him if he stays with someone, he told me sadly no. I wish him peace and asked him what he needs…he told me a job.
After talking to Melvin I headed up the entrance ramps at I75 and 8 Mile- there I honked my horn as I was perpendicular to the gentlemen on the ramp. He came over wearing his sign asking for help around his neck. His name was Milton and as soon as I handed him the Mc Donalds gift card he knew to ask how much it was worth. Five bucks I told him, he said thank you and returned to him station.
Next I headed town downtown and got off 375 at Lafayette knowing full well it was a good day to be on the ramps by the casino. And that is where I met Dwayne on the edge of Greek Town. I rolled up and saw a young guy and I rolled the windows down and I looked him. I asked him how told he was, I was not judging, just curious. He told me twenty eight. I asked him how long he’d been out, he told me about six months but wanted to get off the streets because he wants treatment. He told me he made some calls today, I sensed he was bullshitting. But again..no judgment.. he told me nothing was open today. I told him to keep trying. He said he planned to that is why he was out today he just needs to get his blow fare to make it through the night so he can call again tomorrow, and thanked me for helping. Was super happy about gift card.
I am not surprised or even caught off guard by how honest folks are I guess I am just curious that they bother to tell a complete stranger about their addictions. Maybe they know honesty is important to folks who help. Idk.
Not far up the street at the next light I ran into a another red head. His name was Patrick. He was 38. His nick name was Tattoo as he has over sixty five of them He is from Alabama came here for music, I told him to think about going back as we have a huge storm coming. He told me he wants to but has to work up the cash. I gave him a backpack. He was happy about the cakes- he likes junk food and home cooked meals. He told me about his Brother by the MGM Casino. His name is Frog. I told him I would head over there after Greek Town. Then he asked if I saw the other guy down the road..Dwayne. I told Tattoo that I had just spoken to Dwayne. Tattoo declared himself to be an asshole that looks out for people. I told him he isn’t an asshole, we all need that!
As I was talking to Patrick a guy with a backpack walked up , his name was Nate. I gave him some cakes and a gift card, he wished me Merry Christmas.
Over by St Andrews there is a street that has a few steam vents on the sidewalk, always guys there in the cold weather as its one of the few places they are not in the middle of the street. There I met John, James, and Leon. Only gave out one bag they told me there were all good but I did give them each a McDonalds gift card. I also gave Leon a red blanket that Tattoo had just gave me telling me he just got it but didn’t need it.
Leon was thankful, then James asked me if I had one. Grrr, I did not. So I pillaged two backpacks for handwarmers and gave them to him.
Then an old Man with purty blue eye came up and held out his hand and took a bag, I am not even sure he was homeless or just walking by in the lot but he smiled at me just right so he won
In an alley by the Cop shop I ran into Mark and his puppy Selena. His puppy was so cute and chained to the wall doing what dogs do as they settle in for the night, walk in circles and rough up the space. She had her own sleeping bag and he had wool blankets folded neatly in milk crates. She was so soft and really clean too.. He had a place he was stashing his stuff. He had a big story about how the pastor at a Church robbed him and he was trying to get more money to get back in his place. He didn’t need a bag but was happy with the cakes and gift card.
By MGM Casino over by Michigan Ave and Lodge I never found Frog but I ran into Michael who was a very tall Man and very meek. He had no gloves on and it was bitter cold out. I told him there were adult sized gloves in the backpack He blessed me and wished me a merry xmas and did the same.
It was getting dark at this time so I decided to stop for the day. I wish those gentlemen peace, rest and warmth.