January 2, 2012

Happy New Year!

It's 2012 and hopefully you all did something fun to ring in the new year. Sleeping of course counts as a fun activity and is what I should have been doing, but I stayed up to watch the all drop and was out cold by 12:05 on January 1st 2012.

I had coffee with Tony this morning and he is starting the New Year off with good news. You might remember Tony from the Coffee Fixes Everything post, he is one of many local panhandlers and a really sweet guy. He resides in the donation bin at Salvation Army and back in November he had offered me a spot in his box if I ever got too cold in my car. Well Tony made friends with a guy in equally dire financial straights, but between the two of them and their social security checks they are going to be getting an apartment together next week. He's really excited and of course extended an open invitation to come either crash or live with them should I ever need a home.

I know I've said it before but I am constantly amazed at the kindness of people. Very often it is those who have the least to give that will offer me the most. Among the lowest classes there is a sense of comradery that seems to get lost as money and possessions are introduced. The more a person has the tighter they seem to hold onto it but those who have nothing will offer their own jacket to someone they think is in more need.

I was thinking about why this might be the case and I have a partially formed theory. I think it gives us a sense of control over a world that we rarely have a say in. That's probably why I drive around town with a tray of coffee on Saturdays handing them out to the street musicians and panhandlers. It's why Tony would offer me a home free of charge when he doesn't need to. There is an unspoken belief that the poor should pay closer attention to the middle class, that they should model their behavior on those who have reached the American ideal. I think that in 2012 the middle and upper classes should pay more attention to the good will of the underclass.

Happy New Year Everybody!


  1. Well said! Happy New Year, Ash

  2. I agree to a point, unfortunately though there is equal bad in any class of people. Knowing a poor person who does the right thing, or several who constantly do the right thing doesn't mean there aren't an equal amount of people who have means that wouldn't do the same thing.

    My wife and I are in tough times right now, a portion of that is because we help people when we can't afford too. I know so many good people who are "middle class" who give even when they know they will go without paying a bill or two so the person in need will get help.

    When I was near homeless it was easier to see things from that perspective. The rich don't care, only people in my circumstance care. This country has the best people on earth, when bad things happen anywhere hundreds of thousands give freely to help.

    Far too often people have misconceptions based on limited experience, I could tell you horror stories about pan handlers in Chicago but I don't see people who are poor or in that same circumstance as the same kind of people. It does make it harder to hand somebody money but you try and take each instance as it happens.

    I hope things work out well for Tony, I can't imagine living in a box of any kind but I hope you give some thought to not putting people of any class in a basket because that wouldn't be fair to the people who try day in and day out to do the right thing.

    Have a very Happy New Year


  3. Ash,

    I agree with you, it seems the ones with less are more generous then the ones with too much.

    Christmas morning my family goes to a homeless shelter and hand out coats, food and other things. I will never forget the first year we did this we were offering this one guy a coat and he said `no, thanks l already have one, someone else can use it`. He wasn`t about to hoard it when his fellow man could use it instead.

  4. Hi Ash! I worked as a volunteer for three years at a food pantry and met some of the most wonderful, generous people who would give freely of their time. If you were hurting, they were willing to listen and offer advice.
    Those same people were also impoverished. I'd rather have one of them for a friend than Donald Trump.

    On the other hand, I know many middle class and wealthy people who try to pretend that the poor do not exist or look down their noses at them. A relative chewed me out for offering a ride to a mutual friend tonight so the kid didn't have to walk three miles in the bitter cold on his wa home from work. The relative pointed out that drive cost about a half gallon of gas. To me, being that selfish is almost sinful. It's good to help each other!

    You helped me realize that there is something missing right now. I would like to go back to volunteering again once work is found. It's a LOT of fun helping people and it's nourishment for the soul, too.

    Stay warm and take care!


  5. I'm blown away. And, I will be careful the next time I put something into one of those bins. Hurray for Tony! Hurray for banding together!


I love mail so leave a message, ask a question, or give me some advice. You can also email me at Thetuckerbag@gmail.com