SideWalk Ghosts / Interview 122: Taking Care Of Family

I’m standing on a street corner, near my home, no one in sight. To tell the truth, my 365 well is a little low today, been suffering from some sort of lung irritation, but as I’ve promised, 365 will roll forward, in sickness or in health. Plus, I’m sure the outside air is doing me good.

So I just, stand, looking… waiting… while opening my mind to this acceptance, “Relax, don’t force the day, allow it come to you.”

Five minutes turns to ten, then to fifteen, and, all the while, my mind is still; I find myself in a strange sort of head zone, I’m sure, most likely brought on by the side effects of the antihistamines I’ve been consuming like M&Ms for the past forty-eight hours.

The air smells fresh, and being Sunday, the roads are clear, lessening the distraction of the usual traffic noise.

I have to say, “Even though I’m slightly under the weather, life is pretty peaceful at this particular moment, on this particular day.”

Perhaps until this instant, I was not in the right mental space to meet a new friend. Maybe, in some unexplainable way, I’m being tempered away from the, “I feel sick and have to go and get a 365 interview as fast as I can,” attitude that was plaguing me only minutes before.

But whatever the reason, I know why I am here when today’s friend, Dave, pauses his truck at the intersection right in front of me. The second he stops, I am drawn to him, and feeling like a valet parking attendant, I approach him as he checks to see if the traffic is clear to proceed.

Lucky for me, I do not scare him away with my on-street solicitation.

“How long will it take?” he asks, going on to tell me, “I’m in kind of a hurry. I’ve been driving for a while and am on my way to meet a friend at the Racquetball club around the corner.”

“We’ll make it fast,” I share with him, as I suggest he park his truck at the corner for a quick interview.

“Do you toke-up?” he asks.

At first I am taken back a little by his request. Sure, I had my days, but those are way behind me now. But I have to be exposed with you in saying, “His gesture leads my to question his intents.”

Yet, there is a warmth that shrouds Dave, and in absorbing it, the apprehension passes quickly and leaves me with a complete surety of Dave’s agenda.

That agenda, “No agenda.” Dave is just opening the doors to camaraderie.

I explain, “I don’t smoke, but you are welcome to take a hit and we can just talk for a while.”

His first word of advice to us, “Stay clean and positive.”

At first, I’m a little floored by the stay clear part. I share with him, “Please forgive me for my question, and so you know, I used to smoke, a long time ago, but don’t anymore. How can you stay clean and smoke pot?”

Dave is straight up. “I hear you, I don’t smoke it to get high, I smoke it to overcome by back pain. Plus, I know how bad drugs are, my two older brothers are Heroin addicts, and so was my dad at one time. I understand the bad side of drugs.”

He describes the genesis to his back pain, “When I was nineteen I was in a bad car accident. My back was broken, I was paralyzed, in bed for two months, and have a lot of Titanium in me.” As he tells me this, he points to a major region of his back and torso. It’s a huge injury.

“I became dependent on narcotics to manage the pain, and swore I would never again use them. That is why I smoke pot.” Dave concludes.

I’m not to judge, but having had lower back issues myself, I can empathize with the pain he is talking about. To each their own, and in respect to him, and to the sanctity of reportage, I must extend that privilege to Dave.

“Be positive,” A key in Dave’s launching points. Overcoming a serious back injury is an actualization in itself. But her is where he exemplifies the premise.

All right, let’s put the pot thing behind us. “Keep moving forward and stay conscious, you have to keep your eye on where you are going, where you are at, and where you have been.”

“Where you have been?” Dave is only twenty-six, rather young to be living by such a wise philosophy. I can tell you he has earned the life degree to honor the statement.

He even elaborates on the philosophy, “You’ve go to know where you don’t want to be, to know where you do want to be.”

And after talking with Dave for a short time, I might have a glimpse of where he wants to be, taking care of his family.

“If you don’t have love, your empty in life,” Dave shares.

He speaks of family and of his brothers, both of whom have been plagued by the evils of Heroin addicting.

“My oldest brother is in prison for assault, and my other brother is living with me and my mom. He has a daughter, and is doing his best to stay clean. Right now, I’m supporting him, his daughter and my mom. It’s hard, but it’s what you do for family. Because without family, you have nothing.”

“Be positive,” Here is another zinger. Remember Dave’s back injury at age nineteen. “My dad was there to help me through it, it took two years, and right after I was up, he broke his neck. I spent two years helping him recover.”

“Those were the best four years of my life. My dad died of a heart attack just after that.” Dave recalls this as he holds back a small tear in the corner of his left eye.

Dave shows me his tattoo that is a tribute to his father

I am touched in remembering the loss of my father and share with Dave a few magical moments I’ve had since my dad’s passing. Things that assure me that life is eternal, and we will one day be together again. We agree and move on.

“My mom fell apart after death of my father, and even though she has always been the rock in keeping our family together, I knew it was my time to do my part.”

 And that is exactly what Dave is doing. “I started a silk screening business and am thankful to say, it is supporting us.”

He also tells me, “All my hardships have made me who I am and have helped me to be a business owner and provider I am becoming.”

Dave, not only credits his life to the example and strength of his mother, but also to good friends, all of whom have helped to keep him on track and off the deep end.

I ask him of his future, he gives me a list:
• Happy and together with family
• Stable
• Living in a world where people take the time to stick together
• Seeing a society that doesn’t take the easy way out, with people using their own two hands.

He closes with this, “Love life, love self, then you’ll be better to the world and everything.”

Dave, you’ve earned your chops, thanks for stopping to talk today.

May your business thrive and your family heals!

3 Comments Add yours

  1. amazingved says:

    another great post man, I’m amazed with your ability to meet new people each day and start conversation and also photograph them. Inspired by this I also want to start a similar project but mine I’ll keep weekly. It’s more a challenge than a project for me. I’ve no idea how and from where I’ll start. I’m too introvert a person to meet up strangers and take their photos. Any pointers please?


    1. Thanks for you comment. Happy you are enjoying the posts. Per starting points. I call it “Living with your chin up and eyes open the the world.”

      So here is a suggestion. Simply, start saying hello, good evening, even heartfelt thank you to the people around. Maybe, even opening a door or some other simple daily act of service. Pay attention to the reactions of those you are interacting with. Hopefully you will feel a wall thin between you and them. Over time this will lead to a greater confidence and lessen any fear of others. From there, you will know when you are ready to ask a person if they will allow you to photograph them.

      Good luck and keep us posted.



      1. amazingved says:

        Thank you Richard for the tips. Great points to help me started. I realize I get so many opportunities in a day to do these things but somehow I don’t. I’ll push myself to speak up next time 🙂 That’d be a great way to to start somewhere. I’ll keep you posted how it went! thanks again!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s