Contented Vagabond

Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart. ~Confucius

Me and Erin are doing okay
We stumbled on this nice little town
With free hot dinners and a bed.
No need to hoard cardboard or shopping carts
No need to fight driving rain and blazing heat
Or sleep with our eyes open for protection.
Yeah, we’re doing just fine.

You know that bicycle I used to ride?
I traded it for Erin a couple months ago.
She was with some other guy, but he wanted to make tracks
And Erin was just an inconvenience. Crazy, huh?
As soon as I saw her, I knew she was the gal for me.
Long silky red hair, eyes the color of honeyed copper.
Eyes you can practically drown in, they’re so full.

When I left, I didn’t know where I was headed.
Figured I’d just ride until I found myself
Or got bored, whichever came first.
Now that Erin is traveling with me, I’m learning responsibility.
We share everything — food, water, bed, laughs.
Whoever says a homeless person doesn’t need a dog
Just doesn’t know anything about me … or Erin.

So me and Erin are doing okay.
It’s not the life you dreamed of for me
But freedom is more important than wearing a suit and tie,
Punching a time clock, running the rat race.
There are places to see, people to talk to
And we only got one shot to do it all in anyway.
At least me and Erin got each other now.

Note: This was inspired — and fictionalized — from something I saw recently.

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25 thoughts on “Contented Vagabond

  1. There’s nothing sadder, more touching, or more inspiring than a homeless person with their pet. (Or, an elderly person, for that matter.) (Or, a disabled vet.) Everyone needs connection, and if that pet provides it — who are we to say, “They shouldn’t spend their money on that animal”?

    I confess I can’t remember its name, but there’s an organization here that provides pet food and free vet care for the animals of elderly people, and there’s one homeless shelter that accepts pets, too. Leaving someone out in the cold because they have a dog is just cruel.

    • My late grandma always had a pet, usually a dog but often a stray cat. When her kids put her in an assisted living facility, they got rid of her pets too. Sadly, she never seemed to recover. I think most of us do better when we have something or someone who depends on us and returns lots of love! It’s good to hear that some homeless shelters at least make way for people and their pets.

  2. Lovely, Debbie! Life never seems quite so bad when you have a pet who loves you unconditionally, and yes, they do often bring out responsibility in people, and give a kind of structure to their lives. Thanks for this thoughtful post!

    • Thank you, FF, for your lovely comment. It’s hard to think of people (or pets) being homeless, particularly at this time of year. Besides the holidays, of course, there’s the brutal icy weather to contend with. I imagine many of these folks learn where the shelters are, who they can trust, and so forth — but gee, what a hard life.

    • Shucks, ma’am, you’ve got me blushing — thank you! Glad this one struck a chord. ‘Tis hard to think of anyone living on the streets, under bridges, in alleyways, especially as the cold arrives. I think I’d be tempted to hop on a boxcar headed South!

  3. So beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, Debbie! What a touching and powerful piece! You had me going there at first; assuming he was referring to his human girlfriend.

    This touched me especially because I see this all the time, living a city. In fact, not far from where my apartment is, I see (almost every single day) homeless people sitting on the sidewalk with their dog, holding up a sign: In need of food. I’ve also seen a guy sitting there with his cat.

    Thanks so much for sharing this today, my friend. You are such a gifted writer. And really mean that!

    Have a super weekend!
    X

    • Ron, I’m humbled at your words — thank you! We don’t get to choose our talents, but I’m always honored when somebody calls me a writer. It’s what I’ve longed to be!

      Yes, I imagine city dwellers see more homeless folks than we do in rural areas. I’ve noticed people at busy intersections here holding signs “will work for food” and “family stranded.” I think it should give all of us pause to be grateful for our homes and to help, even if it’s in a small way.

      Have a beautiful weekend, my friend! xo

  4. Very beautiful and well written, Debbie. I enjoyed it immensely. Of course, I am an animal person. In addition to being mama to College Boy’s collie, I have (too many) cats (all previously strays). I also see homeless people with their pets, and I wonder how they manage. I wish we could do better as a kinder world and have some places where people and pets could stay in the cities of the world. I know it might be hard to do, it might be expensive, but it is a much more worthwhile pursuit than war….

    • So very true, Lana. In a perfect world, no one would have to be homeless. Sadly, this isn’t a perfect world. Nevertheless, I think it’s up to all of us to TRY to make it better for the least among us. You have a collie?? I just love herding dogs — their alert expressions, their intelligence, and yes, all that fur!!

  5. This was a sweet and touching poem. I don’t know what I’d do without my pets so I can definitely see how the homeless could find comfort in that companionship. Besides, pets are much more forgiving and understanding than most people :)

    • Good point! Dallas never judges, never gossips, never talks back. I’ve heard it said, You don’t get the dog you want; you get the dog you need. And golly, that’s so true!!

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