You might be expecting me to continue with “walk into a bar”, but this is no joke.
Today the three of us (I’m the white woman), walked into a snow pile in a parking lot on the corner of S. 27th St. and National Ave in Milwaukee. I was the first to go in because I saw the man as I sat in my warm van waiting for the traffic light to turn green so I could hurry home, eat my lunch, and get on with all the stuff of my ministry and my life.
But I saw an older man kneeling in the snow. I first noticed he was kind of talking to himself and he had no gloves on. Now, I see a lot of people doing different (some might say odd things) in my neighborhood. My first instinct, no joke, was to look away. I am hungry and when I get hungry sometimes I get cranky, and I had a lot on my to do list today.
But when the light turned, so did I. I parked my van and walked into the snow bank to see if he needed help. Of course he did. He couldn’t get up, and as strong as I am I couldn’t get either. I turned around to see if I could call to any of the people who always seem to be on that busy corner. But they had already seen us and the Latino man and the black teen were already climbing over the snow. It took three of us to get the man to stand up. He wasn’t steady on his feet so we walked him over to the bus stop where he sat on the chair to wait for the next bus.
This is why I live where I do. People helping one another. We like to think that’s only small town mentality, but I’ve seen it so many times. I like to live in a place where a Latino, a black teen, and a white woman isn’t the start to some bad news story or a joke.