Showing posts from November, 2017

Recycle Joe and His Foster Giving

He was hard to miss—with the huge bags of recycled cans suspended from a wooden yoke across his shoulders. 
Inclement weather didn’t seem to matter as his cheeks often bore the brunt of the chilly wind. He became a city icon—most called him Recycle Joe.
His bulging sacks were carried to the trunk of his equally recycled car. 

He’d get his aluminum weighed and receive a small collection of coins for his daily miles of walking.
What no one knew, because Joe never told, was that the money he earned by gathering aluminum cans was collected for a sole purpose—to give to little children at Christmas. 

Not just any children, but kids like Joe had been—a foster kid. He remembered those Christmas seasons, and if any kid deserved something extra on Christmas, it was a foster kid.
So, the day after Thanksgiving he’d take a year’s worth of collected coins and shop. He knew just what these kids would want too. Then he’d deliver the gifts to the foster care office, where they’d come to appreciate his an…

The Veteran’s Bus Ride

Only one other passenger climbed aboard for the long bus ride that evening—a scruffily-dressed man, who was heading back to an alcohol addiction facility. He’d offered this bit of information to the driver and me as he dug in his pockets for the bus fare. He was quite cheerful, despite the weariness on his face and the ragged clothes he wore.
The man chose a seat near the driver and kept up a one-way conversation for much of the journey. My eyes met the bus driver’s in the rearview mirror—I saw his eye roll, but the man, dressed in an old Army coat didn’t seem to mind that we didn’t respond to his chatter.

As the skies darkened, the man explained about his life on the Olympic Peninsula back in the 1950’s and 1960’s. 
He told of his boyhood exploits along the Elwha and Dungeness Rivers. He could fish and hunt—often times skipping school to do so. 
His grades reflected those choices—and when his draft number was called he was sent to Viet Nam.

“Some guys came back from Nam with wounds you co…