[Hpn] NAHNN Homeless News: A Good Samaritan, a homeless bum; Column; Zanisville, Ohio

Morgan W. Brown norsehorse@hotmail.com
Mon, 27 Jan 2003 14:24:51 -0500


North American Homeless News Network (NAHNN): http://nahnn.blogspot.com
Homeless News & Information


Below is a forward of an article that may be of interest to you and others 
whom you know.

Morgan <norsehorse@hotmail.com>
Morgan W. Brown
Montpelier Vermont USA
Norsehorse's Home Turf: http://nht.blogspot.com

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-------Forwarded Opinion Column-------

Monday, January 27, 2003
Zanisville Times Recorder <http://www.zanesvilletimesrecorder.com>
[Zanisville, Ohio]
Opinion section
Weekly Column by By Peter E. Gallaher
A Good Samaritan, a homeless bum
<http://www.zanesvilletimesrecorder.com/news/stories/20030127/opinion/859862.html>

He was there when I got there, blind from pain and pain killers.

He was there when I left, still in the same place, still waiting for another 
place. I'm still thinking about him. Who was he?

Ivory Hart, what a name full of symbolism. Someone with a better brain than 
mine could probably do a lot with that. I can't do much more than think 
about Ivory Hart, and why he was there, why I met him and where he might be 
now.

We spoke but little those four days we were together, exchanging the few 
words the circumstance of a shared hospital room and civility seemed to call 
for. For this I was grateful. I am no one for chatting it up with strangers 
even under the best of circumstances, and I hurt ... bad.

On airplanes and such I wear a permanent scowl, the kind that makes babies 
cry and leaves me pretty much to myself after the seat back is up and 
locked. I like it like that, thank you very much.

And so, when the time came, that means when I could no longer avoid it, I 
introduced myself. "Hi," I said. "I needed a new hip. What brought you 
here?" Mr. Hart, about 10 years younger than me, answered laconically, 
"Pneumonia."

That was enough. For both of us.

The time came, actually, at lunch the next day when the kitchen screwed up 
again and sent me nothing. He divided his lunch in half and gave it to my 
wife and me while the nurses and the kitchen staff were arguing about who 
dropped the ball and loudly blaming each other for my hunger. And not, by 
the way, getting me anything to eat. "Here," he said handing over the food. 
"I have too much and you have nothing."

How nice a thing to do, I thought. Then I thought how unlike the folks 
outside in the hallway arguing about it. "I did and you didn't," was the 
common refrain in that particular chorus, how often sung all over the place. 
I wanted to tell them to stop bickering and go to their rooms. But how? I 
mean, these folks were grown ups. They were, as they would be the first to 
tell you, professionals.

In the meantime, while professionals had their professional differences, a 
fellow named Ivory Hart broke a loaf in half and shared it with folks in 
need, strangers. He even gave away his chocolate flavored frozen yogurt. 
Mind you, that might not have been an act of brotherly love. But, my wife 
enjoyed it.

And that was about all we needed to know , you know? A fellow with a case of 
pneumonia saw another fellow with a big cut and shared half of his food with 
that guy and his wife. Who wouldn't do the same thing? None of us, we like 
to think. Right?

Read on.

Later that night I learned a lot more than I wanted to or needed to about my 
roommate. Curtains are not sound proof and he talked, quite frankly and 
colorfully, over the phone with a friend about his problems, his friend's 
problems and the problems of finding a place to lay his head when the sun 
went down. I learned he was homeless, unemployed, alcoholic and about to be 
discharged the next day, though he was still quite ill, if a place could be 
found for him. Well, not a place, really. I mean not an apartment, a house. 
A bed. That's what the case worker referred to it as the next day, a bed, as 
she asked him if he had any warm clothes to take with him; a winter coat, 
heavy socks.

He told her he thought he might be able to sleep in one or another of those 
all-night ATM places. "That's what got you here in the first place," she 
said, and went off.

He got dressed and packed up everything he had in a sack about the size you 
see school kids carrying their books and lunches in. Then he waited, quiet. 
For a bed. Somewhere. And I waited, too, and thought. I'm still thinking.

This is what I thought, what I think. I used to step around or over folks 
like him, or drop the odd quarter in a grimy hand. Now, I've eaten half his 
food and soon get to go home where it's warm and dry. And him? Picking 
garbage and sleeping under yesterday's news in an ATM vestibule?

I wonder why I got to see the man who shared half of what he had, unasked, 
before I found out about the homeless bum? I wonder which one God sees?


Peter E. Gallaher is a Zanesville resident. His columns appear every other 
Monday.


Originally published Monday, January 27, 2003

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**In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this
material is distributed without charge or profit to
those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving
this type of information for non-profit research and
educational purposes only.**

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-------End of forward-------

Morgan <norsehorse@hotmail.com>
Morgan W. Brown
Montpelier Vermont USA
Norsehorse's Home Turf: http://nht.blogspot.com



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