The People in Your Neighborhood, Part I: Donald

 “You okay, Donald?” I asked from my back doorstep, half of me exposed to the October late morning sun, the other in the crook of the security door that I’d opened minutes before when his voice calling, “Danny! Albert!” broke my hard won resolve to finally sit down at the dining room table and write.

“No,” he answered. He stood in our driveway. He wore black-framed glasses, a navy T-shirt with the letter T in a circle at his breast, camouflage pants and white tennis shoes, dirty and worn from walking the neighborhood in search of someone who could lend him twenty bucks.

“What’s going on?”

“I’m drunk.”

I nodded.

His skin was the kind of red that comes from too much sun and drink, and his body the kind of skinny that too many men in our neighborhood wear, the worn and ageless men who walk along Goff to Casa Liquors on the corner with Bridge and back to the shed that is a house or the shade of the ditch.

“But at least I’m honest.”


He grew up here, moved away, came back. He knew our neighbors, the guys who work the farm, the one-legged man who lived in this house before we did, and he just needed someone, maybe Danny–pshhhh, not Albert, he don’t have money, don’t tell him I said–to lend him twenty bucks. He had walked all over the neighborhood. No one was home, not Fred or Johnny or Rick or David. He thought he might find Danny here at work.

He was a tall man and held himself like a desert willow after a heavy snow. Looking at him, I remembered the storm of ’97, how a friend and I walked from our casitas in Old Town to the Explora Museum, where the landscape willows were bent with more snow than any of us had seen in years. We dusted the white from the branches and they seemed to yawn and stretch in our hands before standing tall again. I wanted to do this for Donald.

I stepped down from the backdoor onto the concrete slab where we keep the barbecue grill and a welcome mat. He didn’t ask me for money. I didn’t offer. We stood silent for a deep breath.

“I guess I’ll go look for him on Five Points,” he said, turning to go.

“Good luck.”

“Sorry to bother you.”

“No problem.”

Donald walked out of our yard onto the street. On foot, Five Points is a right turn out of our gate, right at the stop sign, left onto the ditch, and right at the first street. Donald took a left and crossed to Alex and Isabel’s house. Frenchie, their spaniel/poodle mix, met him on the driveway. Donald shooed him, walked up their front steps, and knocked on their door.

Next: The People in Your Neighborhood, Part II: Someone’s Knockin’ at the Door

p.s. Remember this?

Published in: on October 23, 2012 at 1:59 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Sometimes the people in our neighborhood break my heart.

  2. Enjoyed reading this one. Too many people just slam the door on folks like this one or just simply do not answer the door for fear of having to dish out some sort of compassion.

    Gerri Fountain Cpht USANA Independent Associate 2800600 001 L Phone: (575) 650-3338

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