Monday, January 16, 2006

People You Don't Know, But Should

The first neighbor I met when I moved into my house was a homeless man. This was the early summer, 2004, and I met him as he I was walking up the main entrance to the walking court where my house is located. I remember it vividly, because he asked me how many days until the Kentucky Derby, which he was convinced was next week sometime. (In fact, it had been run about a month before)

Since then, I've seen him around quite a bit. I'd pass him on a side street as I was walking out to my car in the morning, and we'd trade hellos. In the afternoons, I'd see him strutting down the sidewalk, just as content as could be. Every now and again, I'd run into him as he came out of some yard or alley or dark corner that he had just appropriated for his urinary needs.

He was a very nice man whose name we never learned, and never thought to ask. He would ask people for money once, and if they said no, he'd never ask again. Polite, friendly, and proud, he was the king of all he surveyed. He's been such a fixture in the neighborhood that he's been included in a mural on the wall of one of the local restaurants.

Last week, The Redhead mentioned that we hadn't seen him around in a while. On Saturday, while reading the local weekly newspaper, we came across an article about him. Apparently, two weeks after New Years, he curled up to sleep by a secluded fountain. When they found him early in the morning, his body temperature was 75 degrees, and he did not survive the trip to the hospital.

I have to say, I will miss him. He wasn't a friend, but he was more than just a stranger.

A tribute to Mark Daniel "Danimal" Haines.
posted by S.C. @ 2:21 PM |

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