Happy New Year! Although that sentence is beginning to fade from our conversations, it is very symbolic to Anthony and me. This is a new year and with that comes a new opportunity to achieve our goals.
I met up with my friend Anthony on Tuesday of this week for our regularly scheduled check-in. I arrived at our now familiar corner a few minutes late but Anthony was nowhere to be found. I even went into the Au Bon Pan where he sometimes goes to give his legs a break and warm up over a cup of coffee. But he wasn’t there. Outside again I started to give him a call and then saw the bright yellow vest far down 19th Street.
We wished each other a happy new year as we gave one another a big hug. It had been a couple of weeks since I had seen Anthony. He promptly gave me a business card of someone he wanted me to call for him. I disappeared into the Au Bon Pan again to find a quiet place to use the phone.
When I got back, Anthony had sold a couple of papers and we walked over to the Qdoba Mexican Grill that is on M Street. “I’m getting quesadillas,” he grinned as we walked up to the counter. I got the chicken burrito. I tried to buy Anthony’s meal but the manager smiled at me and said that his lunch was on the house. Anthony is an integral part of the community around 19th and M and several of the establishments take good care of him.
I got my notebook out as I finished my lunch to start reviewing our progress. I had disappointing news for Anthony. I hadn’t followed up on most of my to do list. I kind of shut down over the holidays. He went easy on me though – well, maybe that was because he too hadn’t done any of his homework either! We chalked these minor rebuffs up to the holidays.
We got refocused and committed ourselves to getting back on track.
Before we wrapped up, I gave Anthony a package that I received for him from Kipp and Christine from Pennsylvania. They bought him the thermal underwear he wanted! He was so happy!!! “You’ve got no idea how cold it can get being outside in the cold all day and all night,” he said pausing to really inspect the clothes. “These are really nice. You tell Mr. Kipp and Ms. Christine that I thank them from the bottom of my heart.”
We said goodbye and I watched him walk back to his corner to sell more papers. As he headed west on M Street, he pulled the thermals out of his bag one more time to give them another look.
Thank you Kipp and Christine!