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  • The northwest corner of Broad and Washington has been a barely kempt parking lot for as many years as I can remember. Word on the street is that Will Smith owns or owned the land, but that, as a fact, I am not sure. One thing I do know for sure is that it boasted a hideous chainlink fence that caught free flying garbage in the wind like a fishermen's net. And I'm not talking a tiny lot, either. I'm talking a major hunk of city real estate. An entire square block, if not larger. Philly's entrance to The Avenue of the Arts.

    Thanks, Will...or whoever. You've left a grand imprint.

    Anyway...they have broken ground. Someone finally put up The Big Bucks. The bobcats and trawlers, diggers and dumpers...all the Big Boy toys are out there. The architect's drawings are rendered and posted. The artist doesn't forget to draw in the striking rays of sunshine. The Future is Bright, Bright, Bright!!!

    I see they will be hiding the warehouse that is a rusted mess of yum sitting just north of the plans. I better get all the photo opps I can...I have always loved the way the light hits that building and all the open space.

    But here's my real worry...I always have one or two, ya know...

    Where is The Man That Says Hello going to go?

    He's been sitting on that concrete ledge that holds up the fence every day for at least the last seventeen years...that I know of.

    I pass him every day.

    I don't know what his malfunction in life is, but it is obvious that something isn't quite right. I think about him a lot. Once I gave him some beans I had in my pocket. They were from Peter's garden. I really hoped they were the magic kind. Other than that, we never spoke other than,

    "Have a good evening, ma'am."

    "You too, sir!"

    Sometimes I'd say "God Bless You" after that, but mostly I would just think it.

    But he never missed a day.

    Sometimes I'd cross over to his side of the street on purpose because some days I needed the hello as much as he needed to give it.

    So here is my worry.

    Now that the foundation that is being dug has disrupted his little piece...well...

    Where is he?

    Where did he go?

    Is he going to be...Okay?
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