“Ah, who’s it gonna hoight? Me, I got enough.”
He wasn’t looking for an answer. His rhetorical question was more of an explanation. Not that he needed one.
The old fellow in a grease-covered uniform had an accent I hadn’t heard since Archie Bunker. I smiled and waved to the sweaty man who seemed very tired.
Evening walks through my neighborhood take me mostly by houses and condos, but a few blocks further along is an industrial area with the usual mix of manufacturers, package delivery services, and even a brewery. On one corner is an auto repair shop. By that time of day the mechanics are rolling in tire displays, hosing down bays, and performing general closing procedures.
For a couple of weeks I’d noticed the Archie Bunker mechanic walking from the repair shop and up a grassy slope toward an overgrown fencerow. The small hill was an effort for him, especially because he carried a plateful of something in each hand. I’d seen him walk up that slope so many times that my curiosity got the better of me. This time I stopped on the street to watch him.
He first lit a cigarette. Holding it in his mouth he made his way to the top of the slope, careful to keep the plates steady on his way up. When he reached the top he stood for a moment to catch his breath. He leaned down towards the overgrown fencerow and in a voice more high-pitched, yet soft, than one could imagine coming from an elderly, oily, mechanic with a cigarette dangling from his lips, he very sweetly called “kitty kitty?”
Instantly, three scrawny kittens rolled from the brush and bounded over one another to get to the plates he had set on the ground. The Archie Bunker mechanic stood up straight, flicked ashes from his cigarette, and in fine falsetto continued to baby-talk the kittens as they inhaled the plates of food.
They were still eating when the mechanic took one last puff of his cigarette, flicked it aside, and stepped carefully back down the slope. He had seen me watching and as he passed by he smiled, nodded his head, and summed up his simple, kind effort in the one rhetorical question.
“Ah, who’s it gonna hoight? Me, I got enough.”
A couple of weeks later I was walking to lunch with a coworker. As she and I passed the front stoop of a small convenience store, an old woman sitting on the step with a styrofoam cup asked if we had any change. My coworker kept walking as I slowed up just a bit. I knew why she kept walking. We’d had conversations about panhandlers. Neither of us had ever given any of them money. She was very adamant on the subject.
I thought, stopped, and took a couple of steps back to the woman on the stoop. I had no cash and the little bit of change in my pocket couldn’t have been more than a dollar, but I dropped it into her cup. She thanked me and I turned to go to lunch.
My coworker didn’t say anything. The shocked look on her face said it all.
I wasn’t looking for an answer. My rhetorical question was more of an explanation. Not that I needed one.
“Ah, who’s it gonna hoight? Me, I got enough.”
Stuart M. Perkins
91 responses to “Who’s It Gonna Hoight?”
Such a great story, “Storyshucker.” Love that name, by the way. Thanks for liking my post today.
So lovely! So loving!
Love your characters, accents, and good heart. If it didn’t help the lady, it certainly didn’t hurt her.
You’re right! That’s how I felt too. And thanks for reading, I appreciate that.
Would love to be your neighbor.
Making sloe and apple jam. Would give you a jar!
Sounds good to me!
Great story, I felt that, and a lovely write. Thanks for the ‘like’!
I think my Lord is just as concerned with my actions as a GIVER as
He is with the actions of the RECEIVER.
Ourndaughter is an itinerant blue grass musician. Sometimes when they run out of money between gigs, they open a guitar case and play tunes at the shopping center and it doesn’t hurt anyone when people who have enough provide the band with money for food or gas to their next venue.
There’s a man who stands by the exit of the supermarket parking lot with a sign saying he needs help. When he gets enough coins he goes in and buys a bottle of rot gut. My husband, a recovering alcoholic, has spoken with him. He knows we won’t give him money, but we do occasional give him fruit or a sandwich. When he’s really Jonesing he is resentful. In his case, whoise going to get hurt is him. All those kind people fivingnhim coins allow him to continue drinking.and killing himself. I would never advocate for his right of self I destruction to be restricted, butnI won’t finance it either. My husband saysnthat instead of them giving him coins they ought to just buy him a bottle so at least they’re honest about what they doing.
Two sides to the same story. Love hour posts though.
I respect your opinion and appreciate your comment, thanks.
When I gave the woman spare change, I had absolutely no idea what she would use it for. She may have never taken a drink in her life. How could I know? Regardless, even those with drinking issues need to eat.
Perhaps she used the money to buy food instead of drink, a victory for her.
I stopped judging and pretending to know a panhandler’s intentions, a victory for me.
It sounds like even you acknowledge this mindset has benefitted your own daughter. Lucky for her if she encounters open mindedness when in need.
when you feel good about something you do then it doesn’t hurt anyone
and we can never tell what that person has gone through to get to that point,
Very well written! Thank you for liking my post.
I love this story! There are always so many opportunities to share what we have, whether it be a lot or a little. You never know what will make someone smile. 🙂 ❤ ❤ ❤
This is so great. Excellent reminder. Me, I got enough.
I like tired, ragged people who do not judge but just give. They know what it is to be hard-up, and at the end of your rope, and they know that no matter how little you may have, you can always share. In a funny way, it is not “un-selfish” to give, ’cause people who give and share know, it always comes back to you many fold, and even if sharing your last crumb means you starve, you died sharing a meal. The only thing worse than dying, is dying alone.
People who do not give can always find a reason why the cannot or should not, and be it that the recipient wants the “wrong thing” for the “wrong reason”. But the same way that giving always comes back to you with out your having to scheme and connive, the “wrongs” and “rights” of this world tend to balance out pretty evenly with out anyone having to try to sort them out for other people.
In our neighborhood we have an old man who lives in the bus shelter. My partner and i have named him “der Opa”, German for “Gramps”. He is very ill, rants and raves at times, and he needs alcohol so as not to suffer withdrawal. He is too ill, and mad to ever become well nor sane again.
My partner and i pass him about twice a month on our way to go one place or another, and each time we see him we give him the coins we have in our wallet. If he is shouting at the sky, or boxing with a trash can, and we walk up and say, “Hello, Neighbor! May i give you something?” he will look around and quiet himself, sometimes we have to take his soiled and stolen hand and turn it around for him to hold the coins. He lets us to do it, and when he sees the coins he understands what is happening, and looks up and shouts, “Thank you!” Often he will grab your hand, and with startling strength he will pull you close to him with a look in his pale eyes that is hard to describe, saying, “May the loving God protect you!” As we walk away he always shouts more blessings, and never fails to end with “… and you boys look after each other, and stay together! You hear!” – So in fact we have received time and again the most sacred of blessings no minister, priest or justice of the peace could ever give, the blessing of humanity. And when we all die, we will die loved and blessed, which to me is a far cry better than alone, with my pocket weighed down with coins.
great heart warming story, we can all learn from the old man in the story, thankyou for sharing
amazing story Stuart. Thanks for sharing. This is what makes us human beings beautiful!
Love this story…and how that word “hoight” sounds;=) Thanks for sharing.
Be A Blessing!
You tell a great story and have a keen conscience. A timely topic. Always. Thanks for the like today!
Let me just say … you are a good writer. 🙂
Beautiful story! Thank you!
I felt I was there…very inspiring,thank you!
Awesome! I love this story! Thanks for being YOU! Great line, “Who’s it gonna hoight?” Perfect!
Excellent storytelling, and I really liked the choices of language in order to understand your Archie Bunker character, and how you developed interest in him.
Last night I went to a performance of the Vinyl Cafe, if you have never heard of him, you may enjoy going to cbc.ca and listening to a show. The host Stuart is the most accomplished storyteller I’ve ever heard, I think it is how he employs pauses. If you are interested, that is.
Thank you for your writing.
Funny how little acts of kindness make such big impressions. I’ll always remember this sweet story!
What a lovely story, I can almost hear the mechanic’s voice!
Not only was this story a beautiful escape from my own job-related duties, but it was morally instructive, and I hope many of your readers got that, too. This reminds me to fulfill my promise to get involved with a feeding-the-hungry project sponsored by a local church I don’t happen to find much common ground with. But surely, despite important differences, we can agree on helping the hungry.
Good for you for getting involved! Thanks also for reading. I appreciate that.
This made me FOLLOW 🙂