a tale of an old hero part 1
"Mom, look at that."
I looked over and saw an elderly woman in a tattered coat and moth eaten hat bending over leaning on her cane to pick up a plastic bottle and aluminum can. Sighing, I said to my six year old, "Stop pointing. It is impolite."
"But mom, is that what it means to be a homeless person?"
"Listen, Jeremy, just because she is going thru the garbage, doesn't make her homeless." As the light changed, I watched the woman slowly get on her tricycle with a huge orange flag rising from the back and a slow moving vehicle triangle sign plastered on her seat. As I traveled thru the intersection, I saw newspapers, plastic, and aluminum cans separated in her baskets, then it started to rain. I pulled over at the local convenience shop as I saw my windshield cleaner fluid light indicated that it was empty.
In a hurry as usual, i looked at my six year old. "Jeremy... stay in the car, Kay? Mom will be back in a minute." thinking to myself, we will be late for basketball practice, what use is it to have a man in the house if he can't remember to check the fluids in the car? As I hurried, locking the doors in the car, entering the store, I grabbed the fluid and stood in line. Glancing back outside, my little boy, head bent over his game, for once, doing what I asked. I was smiling to myself when I heard.
"I don't care if you can't open the safe, lady. Give me all the money."
I looked up and a man at the register was brandishing a gun. Another was at the front door, telling us to get down on the ground and hand over all the money we had. I looked up again to check the car and found my head being pushed down with a foot.
"I said, hit the floor, lady." As he took my purse and started to go thru it.
The bell of the convenience store jiggled as someone had come into the store. I could hear off key humming as i watched two feet with rubber boots scuffling along.
"Hey, old lady, this is a robbery. Get down on the floor."
"Hee, hee. You want me to get down on the floor? At my age, sonny, you have got to be kidding."
The one at the register, chuckled, "Joe, just leave her alone. I mean what could someone like that do?" Glancing at the stopped progress, he growled, "Hurry up." at the lady behind the counter.
The old lady kept scuffling around the store picking up this and that. While the two continued to gather valuables and money. The humming never stopped. It was almost like a lullaby and very soothing to those of us on the floor.
The old lady now stood behind the man at the counter.
"Look sonny, I have to make my rounds, and you are in my way. Could you hurry it up?"
The man that had finished collecting our valuables went up behind the old lady, brandishing his gun.
"Hey, you must be one senile old broad to think that you could talk to us this way."
"Sonny, if you live to be my age, you can talk any way you like, Now, hurry up. I am sure you are messing with all these people's schedules."
"Why I ought to pop you one..."
And with that the old lady opened up something in her hand and it sprayed all over the young man behind her hitting him in the eyes.
"Ooops, I am dreadfully sorry." She crooned as she now took out an old rag and started to rub off the oops on the man.
"Stop that!!!!" he commanded as his buddy now turned and laughed.
"You should see your face, Joe."
The old woman stooped to pick up the bottle she had dropped. Slipping she fell into the man at the counter who tripped over her and landed on top of the one called Joe. Both men were now cursing and trying to get themselves up as the door jingled again.
The old woman left some change on the counter and hummed to herself as she headed out the door.
As we lined up to give our witness reports, I watched her ride away on her bike, wondering if that was all an act, or if she was senile.
Climbing back in the car, my son gave me a big hug.
"What is this about?" thinking I would not share what had just happened.
"I needed to give you a big hug."
"that old lady said I should hug you everyday, and especially today, because it was her birthday. She even asked me to let her use your cell phone for a present. I hope you don't mind mommy. I never unlocked the door and I know I am not supposed to talk to strangers, but she did not seem strange to me...
My son prattled on as I looked at my cell phone, the last number called was 911. Hummmmnn.
to be continued.