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Dude and his Doberman by A. Anderson

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  • He is always fiddling with Doberman's coat.
    Adjusting, straightening, aligning it so that Doberman can stay warm.
    Doberman lies by Dude's feet, watching the traffic and scenery.

    Dude has a finely hand crafted sign, one that took a lot of time and marks-o-lot.
    It says "Anything Helps, Especially a Smile".
    When I drive by, he flips it over - it says "Peek A Boo."

    I bought Doberman a can of dog food, and Dude reassured me that Doberman always eats.
    Dude smiled at me, with his steely blue eyes, flashing a twinkle of pride at me.
    I smiled back, it was contagious.

    I gave Dude $5.00 the next time I saw him.
    He graciously smiled, his eyes radiant; and said thank you. I saw him at McDonalds a few minutes later, eating heartily.
    Doberman sat tied to the fire hydrant, guarding their few belongs, scarfing down a french fry.

    I continued to wave at Dude every time I saw him, and he flipped his sign back, "Peek-a-Boo".
    My son gave him a few dollars, and Dude grasped his hand in appreciation, thanking him profusely.
    Dude took off his mittens and put the money in his pocket as he leaned down to scratch Doberman between the ears.

    Dude is the savvy entrepreneurial homeless man in The Dalles.
    I watch as person after person stops to give him money, he has got charisma.
    The community gives willingly, lovingly, and with abject abandonment of any preconceived judgment of a homeless man and their dog.

    Other homeless people tend to take Dude's spot on the bridge; I imagine they see his success and want to emulate.
    I believe Dude allows them, without argument, to occupy his domain; for he posses what the others do not have.
    Love that exudes his very own body, and travels into the domain of the highway; capturing all travelers that stop on that exit way.

    I worry about Dude and his Doberman.
    I wonder where he lives, and when I don't see him for a long time, I worry that he is OK.
    I would like to breach the boundary between solitary giving; and reciprocity - but I have no idea how that works in the world of the homeless.
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