|Xavier, Annabelle, Jefferson, and dog|
Quite a bustle in Waterfront Park as vendors and charity organizations prepared for the Race for the Cure which would occur on Sunday. The homeless folks were camped out all along the way. Bedrolls on the grass under the ornamental fruit trees. Dilapidated shopping carts in the shady spots under the traffic ramps. Overfull with blankets, camping gear, sentimental curios
|Homeless folks camped out in the planter above the restrooms near Hawthorne Bridge|
Life looked easy and fine for them in their casual, loose-fitted summer clothes. A yellow-white dog, tethered by leash to Jefferson, stood patiently by. The three were passing through Portland, thumbing rides to satisfy curiosities piqued by names on maps.
Xavier came from Michigan. Jefferson, Colorado. Annabelle, Missouri. The randomness of the road threw them together in San Francisco six weeks previous.
|Concrete tanning bed|
She'd left a bad home: living in St. Louis with her boyfriend, her boyfriend's sister, and her boyfriend's sister's three children. The sister had a drug problem. The boyfriend had a drug problem. It got to be too much. One day, Annabelle just set out on her own. Thumbin' it the whole way.
How did they find the vagabond life?
"Free and easy" Jefferson said.
"Not so far," Jefferson said. Shadows flickered on their faces.
Not too difficult living without a home?
"I've got a friend up here." Jefferson again. "He let us stay in the dorm."
Annabelle nodded. "So nice. We slept on beds!"
|Snoozin' on the sidewalk|
"We're going to hole up in Michigan for the winter," said Jefferson.
Xavier finished his song. "Thanks for stopping to chat." Smiles and handshakes all around.
|Marker on the riverbank|
But at this point, hopeful wishes will have to do. Good luck, friends.