I met Tom the other day in Ventura, CA. He said that he’d been living in the area for about 5 years and he really liked it there. I could tell from his ball cap that he was a war veteran, and his grey hair and beard placed him somewhere around 55 years of age. We didn’t speak much for a few seconds then I said that it was nice meeting him, handed him a dollar, wished him luck and turned to leave. As I departed he left me with a strong “God bless” that caught me off guard, and as I faltered with my words, something along the lines of a “God bless you too” left my lips and I limped away.
His weathered face spoke of many years spent sleeping under the night sky and his soft demeanor reminded me of a thundercloud floating high above earth, mighty in its stature but soft in its touch.
Him being 30+ years my elder showed in the way he conducted himself. It was almost as if he hasn’t always laid on hard times, but rather left the society he knew for some reason to pursue a life of vagrancy. I find myself wondering not what he did with my dollar, but what in life lead him to his current state. What did he know that I did not, and was it worth leaving it all behind?