I can only imagine what it must be like for people living today that are over sixty in today’s world. The man I’m going to tell you a little about is a loner and the most important thing left to him is his appearance. When I first met this man I could not for the life of me believe that he lived outside. This was not a homeless man. He had on the full gear, cowboy hat, cowboy boots western shirt with tie, blue jeans and a western buckle and he was almost “SPOTLESS”. This man is not just an alcoholic but suffers from a mental disability as well. He is very childlike and when he doesn’t get his own way he has a tendency to run rather than be held accountable. This has made him a flight risk for any type of housing as he has bolted on numerous occasions. After he had spent a month in a shelter, we found him a room in Maple Ridge. Almost like clockwork, this man phones me everyday complaining of something or another and I listen and listen and after he has vented I tell him I love him and that he’s doing well even though he thinks he isn’t. He now has been in the same place for over three months and that is a miracle in itself. I go out every Saturday to bring him his medications and some food from the food bank and we sit on his balcony smoking cigarettes, drinking coffee and I listen to his tales of the old days when streets were one lane and malls, well … were rare.
by Darren Charuk