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The intent of a good samaritan …

The prevailing view would seem that my purpose in life is to cruise the streets looking for stuff to pick up.

That would only be partly right.

Actually, the first priority is the walk. I like the physicality of the stroll, the pace, the going, the birds, the quiet solitude. The litter fetish came late to the party but is now part and parcel of the daily constitutional. Call it dual enjoyment.

This morning’s walk commenced promptly at 6 a.m.. A weather app on my iPhone registered a crisp, but windless, 30F. The jaunt would be longer than normal by about 700 yards since yesterday I spied half a dozen black plastic garden pots smashed further up on Colony Road. So I detoured per the plan, retrieved the pots (along with a few other discards) and scurried back to my normal route.

There were a couple of never-seen-before prizes. One was a doorknob set encased in bubble wrap. There was a dent suffered in the fall from whatever it fell from. I’ll give it to someone. The second was a complete misinterpretation on my part.

On an island at the corner of Sharon and Fairview Roads where men stand with cardboard signs asking for alms was a paper bag filled with something and alongside it were two unopened soda cans. I silently accused the less fortunate guys who stand there silently in their quest for help. My assumption was they were the perps. Since there was oncoming traffic, I didn’t automatically stuff any of this in either of my two bags but dodged the cars to safely reach the side walk.

I ruined the good samaritan's holiday surprise but I'll try to recapture their intent with a replacement bag.

I ruined the good samaritan’s holiday surprise but later today I’ll try to recapture their intent with a replacement bag.

Only after I dumped out the contents did I realize, to my shock, that this was no debris left behind by the homeless; Inside was an energy bar and package of Oreos, an orange, an unopened carton of Goldfish crackers and a bottle of water. On the paper bag I had already ripped open was written I hope this makes your holidays brighter. What I had done is undo the good intentions of a good samaritan who only wanted to give a moment’s comfort to someone less fortunate. But rather than navigate through the traffic to replace this Christmas surprise, I’ll reproduce the bag this morning and place it on the tip of that island.

The good samaritan’s deed won’t go unfulfilled. For once, I’ll leave something behind.

About Dave Bradley (264 Articles)
I was a writer by trade so one would think letters would come easily for me. It is so now, but wasn't always that way. Indeed, the first letter was written the Monday after Ellen started her freshman year in college. For years I've wondered - with no good answers - why I swiveled my office chair toward my computer screen to fire up a word processing document for that first letter. I just don't know. I just did. Perhaps it was the angst of separation or wanting to say things that had gone unsaid at that moment when we parted ways in front of her college dormitory. What was a one-off became habitual. When her brother Reid enrolled in the same college, his name was added to the salutation line. They were kids then and are adults now. No matter. The letter writing habit remains so today. I live in Brevard, North Carolina. I'm well away from where they live and don't see them nearly as often as I'd like. That's why letters, at least to me, fill the void of distance. The pages give me something to say and the space to say it. There is no assurance they read the letters; indeed, I have never asked if they do so. With the pace of their busy lives who could blame them for letting a letter sit unopened? Over time, it has dawned on me that the letters are both communicative - and cathartic. By nature, letters are about the writer; the writer can only write about their situation. Perhaps that is as it should be. It's all about the here and now from one person's perspective.

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