By Delbert H. Rhodes
” EXCUSE ME, EXCUSE ME SIR “
A brightly lit southern morning and I have completed shopping. While busied by my thoughts a ragged man calls to me in the store parking-lot. Wal-Mart is a great place to shop, they have everything I need and at wonderful prices. I left my job not too long ago and money now is tight.
“Excuse me, sir,” the man continues to impose while walking next to me. The poor guy appears as though he has not eaten in days. “Excuse me sir, but do you have a couple of dollars so I can buy some chicken?” he repeats while holding out his hand to me. The man’s eyes are sad and depressed, and other things I care not to observe seem to stare at me. I continue to walk though I make eye contact letting Mr. Give Me Two Dollars know that I see him; he keeps stride with me.
What is it with these types, do they actually believe, no, do they feel that everybody wearing decent clothing owes them something? By the way Mr. Beggar Man I too have issues. Oh, I get it, I have (just) left a store, my carriage is filled with food; and therefore, I should share my hard-earned goods with you…and anybody else looking for handouts! Continuing to move away and attempting to add more air space between us, I tell the beggar, “Sorry I cannot help you.”
I spy my waiting vehicle a few parking spots away. Though the man surely heard my words, still he remains at my side, and I increase pace to get away from him. Finally, the vagabond peels off and returns to his spot in the parking lot.
Okay, I privately scorn, all the man asked for is a couple of dollars to buy chicken. Naturally, the thinking is: he would use the money for DRUGS OR ALCOHOL. No dice buddy not this time. Money is hard to come by and I certainly have none to throw away. Still as I stroll to my car I look over my shoulder thinking I should surrender the chicken in my shopping basket. At least he would have something to eat.
No, this too I could not do.
The drive home and I continue to think of the beggar, maybe after putting away my stuff, I should return to the parking lot and give the guy the chicken. After-all, I could simply go inside the store and buy more. No big deal. This too I fail or refuse to do.
If I am correct about the man’s true intentions then why do I feel so terrible?
This incident occurred more than ten years ago and somehow I am able to hear the beggar’s voice and more importantly, his eyes continue to affect me. They were blood-red and glazed by some sort of hell that most of us have yet to know. Let us hope to never know. Even then I sensed something familiar something too close for comfort.
Though I never surrendered to the beggars’ pleas: still I frustrate over how I could have (possibly) left him to hunger?
Sometimes I see me in his dread.
We: all of us are subject to falling; we must struggle to be attentive to the signs and symbols, they call to us.
Do You Ignore the Signs?
Copyright © 2011 Delbert H. Rhodes