“I really need one hundred dollars, otherwise I’ll lose my place, and it’s far too cold to not have one. I’ll have it back to you tomorrow but it’s just a little slow in this weather.”
Explaining that I just did not have the cash with me, she asked if I just couldn’t go to the bank and draw it out.
It can be hard resisting the begging pleas of a cute, tiny young woman, but then I also know that that is how they operate.
She did not offer her services to me because she knows that I would shut her down quickly and would have walked away. Instead, the amount of the request lowered several times until she realized that she had exhausted her options and we parted company.
When Lester B. Pearson became prime minister of Canada, little did anyone realize that he would eventually give Canada an enviable image in the world. In his efforts to make us a peacekeeping nation, I think in a way he was trying to make Canada the non-European Switzerland.
Pearson’s government made a lot of questionable and controversial decisions, but eventually Canada’s image became one of a country where peace and prosperity were paramount, making it very desirable to wartorn countries where people were constantly in a state of upheaval.
In the ensuing years, even though we were forced to go from a peacekeeping to a peace-forcing nation, the world continued to look to Canada as a desirable place in which to raise a family and live in comparative peace.
But we fell asleep!
Wherever this native Canadian goes, people, and especially his own people, follow in his wake.
Although he has a place to call home, he spends a lot of his time with friends on the street, visiting, “having fun” and whatever they do during all hours of day or night.
In spite of this time spent with his ‘brothers’ and his jovial nature while in public, there is an aloofness about him that suggests a quality in him that is undeveloped and largely ignored, both by himself and those around him.
Once in a while I will give him a ride home after a meal and it gives us a chance to talk a bit, and it was during these rides that I began to see a leadership quality about him. Strangely enough, he did not dispute my calling him a leader; his only question was: “Where would I lead them to?”
The drive west on Hwy 11 is always one that I enjoy, especially on a sunny day in the autumn.
Even though most of the leaves have fallen, the sun-drenched harvested fields gleam yellow with the straw bales in what my wife calls Rumplestiltskin’s gold.
Three of us were on our way to meet the group of ladies who make the quilts and sleeping bags that we hand out to those on the street.
And we were in for a surprise we did not expect.
“What did the cow ask the horse?” he asked with a straight face.
“I don’t know,” I replied.
“Why the long face,” was the reply.
So often as I look around me, I see so many people walking about with unsmiling and often serious or sad expressions on their faces. These are people from all walks of life not just those on the street.