I have a new acquaintance in my life named Bess who collects cans and bottles early in the morning. She has quite an enterprise by the time I see her at 6…two full shopping carts rivaling her height.
One can’t help being impressed when you realize the effort she puts in, not to mention pushing her wares to a market giving the best buck…sure couldn’t call it glamorous humbling me when I see her.
“Good morning Bess,” I say, as she ambles toward me. “Did you have good luck today?”
“Oh yay-es,” she says. “I stoted in Murra Heel ay’en worked ma waay up. Some-bady had a potty, so ahs able ta load up earla. Trouble ees, nothins open down they-a teel late, so heah ah am, me and ma achin back.”
I love listening to her half Harlem, left over southern drawl marveling at her lack of self-pity at what she needs to do to survive.
There’s that Franciscan in me wanting to help, but instinct intervenes. Once I offered her coffee and she shut down like a clam.
Pride is a funny thing. God knows I’ve had it in spades most of my life, so I get why any sort of perceived handout might unnerve her.
Sometimes it’s all you’ve got left.