For whatever reason, I've always had a heart for the homeless. I never realized there were homeless people until I moved to Washington DC when I was 18. It was a heartbreaking eye opener for me. And while I drove past these people every day and heard stories about certain of these individuals, I had no personal interaction with them. I was afraid.
Many, many moons later, while participating in "gallery sitting" while a member of an artist co-op in Baltimore, Maryland, in the Fells Point neighborhood, I became reaquainted with the plight of the homeless and even got to know many of the locals by name and would chat with them, if ever so briefly.
Now, living in Savannah and working on River Street, I've come in contact with many homeless; alarmingly many. I'm almost overwhelmed by their numbers and more shocked by their youth. One in particular, named Tim, used to visit with me regularly where I work at my part time job at Christmas On The River. And from time to time he'd bring his friends in to meet me as well. I haven't seen Tim in a while and I find myself wondering if he's all right.
Yesterday, while walking down River Street, I became intrigued with this young man. When I first noticed him, it was via sound, not sight. He was playing a harmonica. Always fascinated by the harmonica I looked toward the sound and found him playing to an interested group while his cat, wearing a pink leash, sat serenely on his shoulders. I knew I had to have their picture.
I approached the fellow and offered him a dollar if I could take his picture. He pretended that he'd prefer to have a good idea given to him or some souvenir that would be of sentimental value. But, after I took what I thought was only two pics, he relented as I handed him two dollars.
We talked for a bit. He referred to himself as Savannah something and his cat had an unusual name, something that reminded me of Chewbacca. He said the cat was an Egyptian Mau (I don't think so) and as we were talking, the cat, without forewarning, leaped from Savannah's shoulders to mine. I held very still as she walked across my shoulders and then climbed down my clothing, head first, making her way to the ground.
I would have loved to have chatted at length with this young man and heard his story and what led him to his current place in life; however, my friend, Tuna, was visiting from out of town and we were on our way to the next tourist destination. So we made our farewells and shook hands.
I hope that I get the opportunity to meet Savannah and Chewy again and get to talk with them some more.