Yesterday was warm, sunny, and breezy, so, when I had the opportunity to spend some time outside while at work, I took full advantage of it. I quickly learned that taking advantage of this opportunity led to some of the men at the day shelter to take the opportunity to make sure that no-one took advantage of me. What transpired reminded me that I have guardian angels of the most unlikely and unexpected kind here on earth, and I wouldn’t trade them for the world.
When I stepped outside that morning, I was greeted with, “Good morning, Miss Kristi” and “Hi, Sunshine”, which was quickly followed by the inquiry, “Where are you going?” I returned the greetings and responded that I was going on a home visit with one of the case managers to visit one of the men in the permanent supportive housing program. After giving my response some quick thought, one of the men asked, “Well, where’s your purse and keys then?” Nothing, and I mean nothing gets past these men, which always impresses me, as I am not one for the obvious. I explained that I was walking to this particular man’s home, as it was less than a half-mile away, so, I did not need my purse or car keys. With that, the protests began.
As I shared in the post, “Are You Sure Those Are Weeds?!”, some of the men do not think that it is safe to walk in, what they refer to as, “the ghetto” or “the ‘hood” that surrounds the day shelter. Never mind the fact that they walk these same streets at all hours of the day and night, or the fact that they can find themselves in some extremely dangerous situations as they navigate their way through the world of homelessness. I am neither naïve or foolish when it comes to my personal safety, so, I take every reasonable safety precaution necessary when both at work and at home, and the walk I was preparing to go on honestly is not one to merit such dire warnings. That said, I listened to their concerns and politely declined an escort to my destination, and I reassured them that I would return in about an hour. So, I set off down the sidewalk, feeling their eyes follow me, and when I turned the corner at the end of the block, I chuckled with relief that I had made it out from under their watchful eyes.
As I stood at a crosswalk, waiting for the signal to cross to the other side of the street, I looked around the neighborhood and took notice of the changes spring had brought to it. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed something, or should I say someone, four “someones” to be exact. Yes, there they were, about three blocks behind me, partially hidden and stealing glances at me. There were my guys watching over me. I almost waved and called out to them, but since they hadn’t realized that I had seen them, I didn’t want to spoil their “mission”, which was apparently to make sure that I arrived at my destination safely. I remained silent and smiled broadly, and I thought to myself that even though I am a grown adult capable of taking care of myself, it still felt good to know that I had someone to watch over me, especially these particular guardian angels.
After the home visit concluded, coincidentally enough, they just happened to be coming from an unknown destination at precisely the same time I walked back up the street to the same street corner where I last saw them. Together, we all walked back to the day shelter, and I never said a word about their not-so-secret mission. Bless their hearts, they barely had time to relax before I headed out in the other direction to a lunch meeting that was slightly further away, and I again was met with the same protests. I walked away smiling, not knowing if anyone was following me this time, but still feeling protected.
When I returned later that afternoon, I was welcomed back by the men who were outside on the front steps, and one man asked, “You been out walking in ‘hood, Miss Kristi?!” When I answered, “Yes”, he laughed and said, “You’re the queen of the ‘hood!”, and bowed. Some girls aspire to marry a prince and become a princess, but after being named ‘Queen of the ‘Hood”, I think that they should have had higher aspirations.
That’s another story . . .
Categories: That's Another Story