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  • He was arrested while huffing paint from the ditch that had been his home for the past few weeks, the ditch that ran next to my house and carried water from the street to the larger spill way that runs behind our home. His name is Brian, and he is around 22. Those are some of his belongings in the picture. His and his girlfriend's, Stormy.

    She was the reason he was here. She lives in our neighborhood too. Brian used to, but now he lives in Kerrville about sixty miles outside of town. He had come back into town to find Stormy and a job and a place to live, but so far most of those details were not working themselves out.

    So, most afternoons Stormy and Brian would sit in the ditch and drink beer or whatever they had and then walk around the area. Eventually some other people had found them too, some other people who hadn't been favored in life and were lacking in those same things. Eventually my neighbor and I began to notice the belongings piling up in that small ditch, and would notice the smell of pot every so often. Eventually we had to tell Brian something, that his current living situation was not working out so well. I have two children under five. A homeless guy cannot be your kids playmate.

    But I have some sympathy for Brian. I know addictions aren't easy. If it's love, or chemicals, or love and chemicals. And I know from my own background that just being homeless doesn't automatically mean you loose your humanness either.

    So it was difficult to talk to Anthony, my neighbor, or Mac, the 95 year-old Irish, former New York cop who is also out neighbor, and who also knew about Brian. But all of us agreed he couldn't keep living in the ditch. Then today the local police got three different calls about Brian. And when they finally came out to that ditch, they found him huffing paint. So now the law has to deal with him, and he has to deal with the law. I just have to decide if I'm going to see what still might be in those belongings in the ditch. Or just wait to let the next heavy rain washing everything back down the creek.
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