Wednesday, February 22, 2006


Monday I spent about 30 minutes in line at Wal-Mart, returning and exchanging merchandise. Dear Husband was sitting in the truck with a sleeping Pink Ninja, and I enlisted Dash, as my personal assistant.

So we are standing in the customer service line, and I note a homeless man sitting in a chair in the Customer Service area. He is transferring all of his belongings from a clear vinyl backpack with a large tear in the side, to a newer, bluer, larger and sturdier pack.

I knew this transaction, was a private one for him. But, I couldn't help but watch. I was interested to see how he packed and what he packed.

My Dear Husband, had worked corrections while putting himself through college, and I remember him telling me that he could tell who was a Veteran by how they packed. I also remember him saying, you could tell a persons level of sanity by how they packed.

So I watched this man from the corner of my eye. I watched him pull out a tube of toothpaste wrapped in a McDonalds napkin, and then the toothbrush wrapped in another napkin. I watched him pull out a file folder,that was filled with torn out newspaper articles, and notes he had written. In my mind I imagined he might have had a letter from children, or a wife inside, but I didn't see any. There was a lot of paperwork in that file. He pulled out a brush, a back plastic fork with a tine missing, a small plastic baggie filled with paper packets of salt and pepper. I noticed there was no clothing in his bag. Maybe he was wearing all of it, after all 17 degrees in this part of the country is a rarity.

So I stare ahead, and imagine what I would pack in my bag, if I was homeless. I listen to him hum and sing sweetly as I wait for my turn in line.

He looks at Dash and I and tells us, "I think I will keep this old bag, I think I might be able to fix it". I nod in agreement.

We exchange or merchandise, and leave the store.

When I get in truck I tell my husband about the guy, and then ask him "what is the strangest item you had found in a homeless persons bag at the jail?"

He answers "a hatchet, and 2 dogs feet".

I guess the mans dog had been run over by a train, and the guy couldn't bear the death of his dog, and wanted to carry a part of the dog with him.

I am glad, I wasn't behind that guy at the Wal-Mart. Although, I might have learned to respect a person's privacy.

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