Post-Christmas Resolution, Day 205 – A Broken Umbrella

Pouring rain, a bursting trash bag, and a toothless smile were my rewards for picking up trash in the neighborhood this morning. 

In our neighborhood, there is a diminutive, elderly Chinese man who collects cans. He wears dark clothes, a dark cap and always has at least one black garbage sack rattling with cans draped across his shoulder. He walks steadily, head down.

This morning I had my head down, picking up trash and stuffing it into my own garbage sack when I saw him. He had three sacks over his shoulder, and a dark, broken umbrella over his head barely protecting him from the rain.

I watched him for a minute. He walks steadily, head down. Umbrella dripping.

I reached into my garbage sack with my gloved hand and pulled out four cans. Crossing the street, I approached him with the cans outstretched. He stopped and looked at me, then smiled broadly, revealing a nearly toothless mouth. He reached out to accept the cans with gnarled fingers and yellowing nails, the toothless smile still beaming.

I asked if he spoke English. He nodded, still smiling. Silence.

I asked his name. He nodded, still smiling. Silence.

I pointed at myself and said, “Eric”. He nodded, still smiling. Silence.

I nodded, smiled and we parted. As I left, he put down his cans and added mine to his collection, about twenty cents worth. Then he picked up his rattling sacks, his umbrella, and continued on in the rain.

I crossed the street, turned and watched him walk away. Three dark sacks, a dark cap, and a broken umbrella dripping with rain. He walked steadily, head down. I don’t know where he was going.

Pouring rain, a dripping trash bag on my shoulder, I turned and walked the other way.

About Eric Winger

Our perception of time is key to how we use our time. The most fundamental way to change that perception is to give our time. This opens us up to new opportunities and ideas from which we can build to really make a difference. ... Yes, we *do* have time to make a difference!
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