The shingles continue to hang from the roof and the pale yellow color of the house continues to fade in the hot sun, time does not stop. I finally finished a busy day at our convenience store which is just about 2 minutes away from our new residence. As I approach, I cannot help but continue to stare at the overgrown weeds that occupy a vacant lot that sits next door to our fixer-upper. On the other side of the vacant lot, a white family lives in a newly built home with a country style porch, a cute german shepherd, and a picket fence surrounding the home.
(I will be mentioning race, lifestyles, and beliefs throughout my post to show as I write that diversity in a neighborhood comes both positive and negative with many learning experiences.)
The overgrown weeds are reminding me that this neighborhood has been neglected. The people that once lived here and the few that still remain from the years past has in some circumstance…some thought process…in some spoken way neglected the community.
The reasons for the lack of care are not always known although the excuses come both distressing and at times understandably reasonable.
Overgrown Lot of the Missing Owner (Photo by Tanya Graham)
As I move items from our car to the house, I notice a familiar face. A face that makes me uneasy. Here comes Paul (not sure if that is his real name or not) but that is what we call him at the store. That or either Preacher Man. He is a frequent store customer who has been homeless and an active addict for over twenty years and frankly he doesn’t care to change his living status. Paul is a slim black man maybe in his 70’s. He walks with a consistent odor; mix-match clothes; and sluggish walk of feet dragging. His unkempt gray and black hair always lives under some type of hat at least 90% of the time. Nothing about him is shy or meek. He is outspoken and doesn’t care what he says at any time. His conversation has often embarrassed me as we take orders from customers visiting outside of the so-called “hood”.
My thoughts “Oh my God. He knows where I live!”
Paul’s first question while standing outside our house goes like this “Did ya’ll buy this house for me?!” He is yelling as if we are two blocks away instead of right in front of him. My husband and I looked at him with a slight grin of amusement and terror all mixed together.
Our Friend Paul (Photo by Tanya Graham)
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The Move (Original Post)
© 2016 All words & images by Tanya Graham unless otherwise noted.