Tuesday, July 12, 2022

The man in the garage

Behind the parked pick up truck and next to the black and white Aussie shepherd who'd been asleep in the garage the other day, a man sat draped in a folding chair. Mostly belly, he wore US Army shorts, a Wrangler cap with American flag, and he spoke with an unplaceable accent, heavy on the d's, but hardly Brooklyn. He held a red disk in his hand that Lilith pulled me toward; turned out to be a dish of food for his dog.
The house was his grandmother's. She and his grandfather bought it in the 1920s. (She died last year in her late 90s.) They came up from Hilo when it got hot, grew vegetables, traded them for milk and cream with the Shipman dairy folks up here. They'd owned a furniture shop (and the building) in Hilo for 80 years. He'd grown up on Oahu. Born at Tripler, he said, because his "real" parents were in the military. His adoptive parents and most of that family hadn't treated him well, though his grandmother did. "You've done more for me than any of my kids," she'd told him.
He'd gone to Ohio to meet his birth family; that went well. He saw his parents' graves there, met three aunties at a motel. 
He'd been on disability for a long time; had always had seizures because his "real" mother was an alcoholic. His adoptive mother took 15K of his government money. People really shouldn't do that to each other. They all breathe alike, put on their clothes alike, go to the bathroom. He doesn't really understand it.
His parents recently sold a couple of their properties, are working on fixing up another couple in Hilo--he lives in a place on the grounds where his parents do. I didn't ask what would happen to this lovely green house surrounded by gnomes and statues, a garden and large woodpile. A large window opens to the main street (as it were), framed in green, friendly in aspect. A water catchment container sits off to the side of the driveway, wooden and on stilts. The man misses the old days when everyone knew everyone else and you could barter goods. Things are so expensive now.
I said good-bye to him and the dog. As Lilith and I headed down the lane, I heard him saying kind things to her. She'd just been fed. She was a happy dog.

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