Twist and Shout

Twist and Shout
Life is never straight (Joey Kulkin photo)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Humanity is the Maine thing

Edward and Heidi Ho in Bennington, 7/9/14 (Joey Kulkin photo)

BENNINGTON -- The philtrum-pierced dude sat by a trash can near the front of Price Chopper with an oversized camping backpack. The bandana'd dog sat next to him, panting. I passed 'em on the way to another everything bagel with salmon cream cheese and chocolate creme donut and fresh coffee. Thought he'd be there when I walked out so I bought a box'a Iams biscuits for his walking buddy.

Only problem is they had left. I wasn't more than 6 or 7 minutes but a place like Price Chopper won't let a stinky sweaty dirty greasy grimy filthy hairy vagabond with a stud in the middle of his 'stache strip beg like a beggar for too long; Bennington went all highfalutin and passed an anti-panhandling ordinance during the spring. Anyway, the hairballs had hit the road, and I stood there with a brand new box of dog biscuits. Derp.

Drove around the shopping center, twice and then a third time, thinking I'd be able to find them but the search was fruitless. Made a right out of the center hoping to catch them on Northside Drive because there's only so far a guy with a 50-pound pack on his back and a cute little pooch by his side can traverse in 5 minutes. But as I approached Cumby's they were nowhere to be found. Did a U'ey and headed toward North B, all the way down to Cinema 7, which was absurd because there's no way in hell they'd'a made it so far.

Flipped another U'ey and headed back to the shopping center to drive around the backside of it. Maybe the dude had to drop Uncle Lou in the brush. Drove behind Walmart and found a backroad I'd never seen till now, and hey, that's where Suburban Propane's office is. No chance man and dog headed this way so I flipped another U'ey and slow-drove toward the exit of the shopping center, hoping to get lucky. No go.

I had all but resigned and thought, Looks like I have a box'a dog biscuits. Derp.

Made a right turn out of the center to head back to open the gallery. Reached Cumby's again and gave a courtesy glance. HUZZAH! I saw him through the gas pumps, sitting against the white brick wall, pooch at his side. Made a quick left into the lot and zigged through the island and pulled up to the sidewalk, rolled down the window and called him over. He poked his head thru. Told him I looked up and down the street and here's a box'a biscuits.

He smiled but looked bummed.

"I have so many dog biscuits in my pack," he said. "But thank you."

Pulled a 10-dollar bill out and handed it to him.

Happier.

Asked if I could take his photo with the pooch. Sure.

Edward and Heidi Ho. Wisconsin.

"Where in Wisconsin?"

"Sheboygan."

"I wrote a poem about Sheboygan."

"Sheboygan sucks. Don't go there."

Edward and Heidi Ho are hoofin' and hitchin', hitchin' and hoofin', Sheboygan to Maine.

"I'm a migrant farmer. Going to pick blueberries."

The plan is to make it to Rutland to take the shuttle to Bellows Falls, hitch to Bratt and walk across the river into Keene, then hoof and hitch to Manchvegas to pick up a friend, and the trio will make the final assault into Maine to pick berries in Rockland. Edward said I should come up to Machias in August for the big blueberry festival.

"It's free!"

We exchanged a few more pleasantries.

"Wish I could've given you more but you can never have enough dog biscuits."

"Thanks, bro."

I left and just about made it downtown when the guilt seeped in. I had more cash in pocket, coupla twenties. Probably should've given him one of the twenties and not the ten. Others would kick in through the day, no doubt, but what if no one else helped? Knew I'd ruminate about it all day so instead of making a right off River onto North I hooked a left and drove back to Cumby's. Edward sat against the wall eating a breakfast sandwich. Heidi Ho wished she could eat one too. Called her master over and handed him a twenty thru the window.

"Ten wasn't enough."

He smiled a smile much bigger and delivered extra pep behind "Thank You!"

Asked if a lot of people help him. Sometimes. Other times not so much.

"I eat out of the Dumpster when I need to, I don't care."

I have no money and not much else going on these days, other than my health.

Helping a hairy dude and his little bitch make it to Maine gave me a little satisfaction.

And hey, that chocolate creme donut was really fucking tasty.