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Gray World Daily – An Unofficial Part of the Phil Hendrie Universe » Bobbie Dooley, Featured » Western Estate’s Adopt-the-Unfortunate Program – Day 1

Western Estate’s Adopt-the-Unfortunate Program – Day 1

Photo by Cuito Cuanavale

Our New Friend Jerry

This is part of my series on helping the homeless, make sure you read our story from the beginning!

Oh my!  We just got back an hour or so ago from picking out our homeless person.  It turned out to be more complicated than I thought!  Just as Steve, the kids, and I were all piling into the SUV, Steve said something very smart.  He said, “Bobbie, how are we going to get this person back home?”  And I realized, “Oh my god, Steve is right.”  One of the reasons homeless people don’t have homes, or jobs, or spouses is because of their grooming and hygiene problems.  We are going to cover that in our boot camp, but what could we do about it today?  Well, thank goodness, Steve not only found the problem but came up with the solution!  Steve owns a wildly successful landscaping company and they’ve got a work truck they use for hauling fertilizer to the job sites. We knew no matter who we picked they couldn’t smell any worse than the back of that truck already did!  So, we swung by one of Steve’s job sites, and Steve jumped in the truck and followed us in the SUV over to Venice Beach.

Venice Beach was the perfect place to find the right street person.  There was a marvelous selection.  Every age range, every ethnicity, gender, and state of  indigency.  And some had wonderful skills, we met one man who made mermaid sand sculptures, another who could juggle wine bottles, someone who played the harmonica, and a young woman with lots of piercings who could recite poetry about any topic you named.  Our son Seth wanted us to bring the girl home, but that wasn’t going to happen!  After about thirty minutes of walking around, talking to some of them, walking a wide berth around others, we came upon Jerry.  He seemed like a sweet old black man.  He must have been in his late forties or early fifties.  He was sitting on a bench with a sign that said, “Autographs $1.”  We found him charming.  Jerry said he was born in West Germany to US parents stationed there.  He moved back here when he was almost a teenager.  He had a slight hint of an accent, though it was often lost in the raspyness of too many years smoking Kools.  He could still speak a little German.  And since Justin is taking German in school we thought this could be a wonderful cultural opportunity for the boys.  He did have a strong odor, but neither Steve nor I could detect the smell of booze.  We did end up asking more directly and he said he’d been sober for 11 years, “praise Jesus.”  We all agreed Jerry was just what we were looking for.  The kids and I wandered off to let Steve negotiate the deal, he’s so good at that.

And so it began.  Jerry lay down in the back of the pickup so the cops wouldn’t see him without his seat belt and Steve drove him back to our lovely home in Western Estates.  I was tempted to give Syd at the guard gate the fright of his life, but didn’t think his pace maker could stand it, so I went ahead and warned him about Steve’s cargo.

First thing we had to do was get Jerry to go behind the house with the garden hose and scrub himself up real good.  Steve brought out some old clothes he was going to donate to Goodwill, and Jerry put those on.  It was getting late so we showed Jerry where the garage was, where the port-o-let was, and we all said a warm good night.  Justin was so cute I caught him about 30 minutes later sneaking Jerry a can of Coke and some pretzels.  Tomorrow will begin early, so pleasant dreams Jerry, and all of you!  Boot camp begins at 6 am!



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