Archive for February 27th, 2010

Have you been checking out the Lend a Hand section?  I was really hoping that someone reading the blog would help out somebody on the Lend a Hand section, but so far that has not happened.  Some things that people need are things that I think would be pretty simple to give: clothes, used laptop, music stand, free counseling, etc.  I urge you to take a moment and review the page and if you can help, or know someone else who can help in any way, please do so.  It will mean so much to those that need your help.

Yesterday I gave my $10 to Monica and Bridget.  Two young professionals in DC.  Monica works at the Federal Reserve as a Research Assistant and Bridget works for National Geographic in the book publishing area. 

The two were sitting next to me at the Brickskeller.  They were very kind and cut me a little piece of their vegetarian burger and onion rings to try.  The vegetarian burger was excellent…usually I find them dry, but the Brickskeller’s burger is full of flavor.  

Our conversation was all over the map.  From the Olympics to how they met each other to Jayson Werth’s beard.  That’s right…they were big fans of Jayson Werth’s beard.  In fact they said that they “live with God in Jayson Werth’s beard.”  

Photo: David Swanson/MCT/Philadelphia Inquirer

They were not impressed that I couldn’t come up with who Werth was at first.  On the other side of me were Billy and Emmy.  Emmy thought it was pretty pathetic as well that I didn’t know who he was at first.  Once they mentioned the Phillies, my mind adjusted and I recalled the big right fielder for Philadelphia.  Oh well…blame it on me being a Mets fan.

Monica and Bridget said they would use the $10 to give to a waiter or waitress as part of a tip.  They both had worked at some point in the service industry and said they appreciated how hard they work for their tips.  

The two got up to have a cigarette outside…they said they would be back in a few minutes.  They never came back.  I finished watching the Canada vs Slovakia Olympic hockey game.  When I got my check, the bartender said, “Your friends not coming back?  Should I put their beer on your tab?”  In the spirit of giving…I said sure.  It was only a beer anyway.

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I decided to go over to the Shaw neighborhood today.  On my way I ran into Kenneth from Day 30.  He said he was having what he called “death nightmares” and was being admitted to Georgetown hospital today.  Kenneth, who suffers from various mental illnesses, was not sure how long he would be there.  My friend Mike had his own battles with mental illness and about eight years ago also went to Georgetown Hospital.  He said it completely changed his life and he now has his situation under control.  Kenneth usually sells Street Sense outside the north entrance to the Dupont Circle Metro…keep an eye out for his return and welcome him back with a smile and a hello…heck buy a paper!

When I came out of the Metro at Shaw, I was greeted by a fight between some teens.  The one boy got free and ran away.  It’s definitely a different vibe than my neighborhood.  I was about 15-20 blocks from my home and I thought that I would start to explore the neighborhood and gradually make my way back to my place on foot.  A few blocks later I met Dannie.

Photo: Reed S.

He was sitting at a bus stop, dressed in work clothes and a hard-hat.  He lit a cigarette as I sat down next to him and introduced myself.  Originally from North Carolina, Dannie now lives in the nation’s capital and says he loves it.  “It’s the land of opportunity” he says.  He is referring to the fact that he feels fortunate to have had plenty of work over the past 20 years.  Right now he is working on a window installation project at a local high school.

I asked him what he planned on doing with the $10…he smiled and said he would use it for transportation.

Dannie is a father and talked to me about the importance of his kids getting a good education.  Dannie didn’t continue his studies after high school and is now studying to become a carpenter…but he says that it is much harder going back to school at his age.  “It’s been over 20 years since I’ve done fractions!” 

Check out the video below of Dannie talking about education and how it has influenced his life.

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