There was a flurry of activity across the street over the weekend. You might remember me talking about the situation back in July. It was obvious that they were struggling, but it was hard to figure the situation out. There was a man who came with a loud truck. There was a woman who once sat in front of the place blowing the horn for like a half hour before someone got pissed and walked out and told her to knock it off. (Not from my house). Her excuse was that her boyfriend worked nights and was sleeping in the apartment. There was a skinny woman (a different one) who seemed to be living there with the three kids. Although there was often a vehicle there, the woman also did her grocery shopping, pushing the cart five blocks home, and then wheeling it across the street to dump it in our yard when she was done.
Just chaos, really. It seemed like chaos.
William out grew his bike. It was a nice bike, but we found a very nice bike second hand, and got it for him. Tim and I discussed it and the next time that I saw the oldest boy, I walked across the street. "Hey, I said, "my grandson has a bike that he's out grown and if you'd like it..."
His eyes got wide. "I want it!"
I said, "Well, run upstairs and ask your mom..."
"I want that bike." He was so eager for it, I wasn't going to say another word. "Come on over and get it then," and headed across the street. He ran after me after cautioning the two younger boys not to leave the sidewalk. They stood there obediently. When I wheeled the bike out, he was thrilled, but as befitting a near teenager, he played it cool. He jumped on it, and rode off down the driveway. There were many summer nights that I saw him out biking with a group of boys. It always made me smile. It also always made me smile that he recognized our car and gave me a solemn 'cool guy' wave whenever he saw it. When I walk over to meet William after school, I always see him and he says, "Whaddup?" Very cool, you know. Very cool.
And now there was a flurry of activity across the street, furniture hauled down the steps, and loaded on a truck, and gone. just gone.
It is the week before Thanksgiving, and I think about those kids. I wonder where they are. I hope they have a good holiday. I'm glad that the bike went with them.
And remember the yellow wagon? Tim saw her walking with her little boy. It was cold, in the teens. He stopped the car and offered them a ride, even though he had no car seat.
They climbed in. They were headed to the Family Dollar. She was going to buy a treat for the little boy while they waited for a bus to take them to the Walmart to do some Christmas shopping. Tim drove them there. That's where he was headed anyway, to pick up his weekly supply of Pepsi.
They all walked in the store together. Tim got what he came for as the little boy kept a close eye on him. When he saw Tim headed to the door with his purchases, he called out, "Wait, wait! Wait for us! Don't go."
It broke my heart a little to think of it, a little boy not even three. He's hiking along in the cold with his mother. Too young really to know what is going on, but old enough to know that there was a man with a warm car who was kind to him.
Could the adults in these stories being doing better for themselves? Are they 'working the system'? Probably, but I don't know. I don't know the back stories. But what I see is the faces of the children. Not a one of them has a choice in the matter.
I'm not going to begrudge them.