Friday, November 19, 2004

My town

Today I got up early (imagine!) and headed over to the DMV to get new plates for my schweet new ride. The process took a lot less time than expected so I strolled over to my neighborhood coffeeshop for a cup of java and some people-watching.

Longmont is old enough and small enough to still have a Main Street so I hopped into Gizzi's Coffee, the newest shop on Main, which has large, floor-to-ceiling windows on the front. Perfect for watching the cars, the people, etc.

I sat for some time, enjoying the radiant warmth from the sunshine (it was cold but sunny) and watched the people inside the shop. A boy and his mother ate cinnamon rolls. A businessman in an expensive suit answered cell phone calls. The owner was talking with what appeared to be a job applicant.

Outside I saw the Teddy Bear Lady approach.

Longmont is home to a handful of homeless people, including the Teddy Bear Lady. They are always going somewhere, never stopping or sitting in alleyways but always walking. The Teddy Bear Lady is so-named for her stroller with a giant teddy bear in it, festooned with shopping bags and other possessions. She is a talker. Always chatting about her poor health, the weather, and so on. She never begs . . . she just talks.

She was wearing a skirt with no stockings today and it is obvious she suffers from a swelling malady of some kind. Her skin looks drawn and tight on her legs and her windburned fingers.

I saw the businessman open the door for her and the stroller as she left the coffeeshop after spending some change for a hot chocolate. I found it endearing.

There is another place on Main today that I found interesting- there are a lot of stores nearby that cater to semi-legal immigrants from Mexico and Central America, and one of them has a large sign in Spanish that advertises an easy and cheap way to send money to Mexico. Not two doors away is a travel agent with a sign saying "Escape to Mexico."

I hadn't found a way to spend time downtown in a while. Today I'm glad I got to see a morning in my town. It was peaceful. I am never at a loss for things to be thankful for in my life. But I look at the relative calm, the peace in my town, and I am so thankful that I am privileged enough to know peace. There are plenty of people in this world who never have.

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