The note was specific. Someone is living in the little valley east of our neighborhood. We think he is homeless. Be on the lookout and stay away from Shepherd Creek. I didn't think much about it, still wanting to take my daily walks.
The little boy living in a home by the creek yelled at me as I passed by. "Hey mister, we got this, this, this note. And, and, and it said there is a wild man living by the creek. Don't go up there." I laughed. I told him there wasn't anything to be afraid of. I wasn't so sure. My heart was beating faster as I walked along the creek. To my relief nothing happened. That was last weekend.
Yesterday on my walk by the creek I saw a stranger. He was breaking deadfall. I could smell a camp fire. I said,"hi, how are you." "Fine, how are you," was his reply. I strode down the creek to home. Ever since my encounter I've been struggling. Should I have called the police? I didn't.
But then this morning, on my walk, I grabbed a walking stick. A heavy piece of wood. For what? And then as I approached the area of my encounter there was a noise ahead. My heart raced. It was May, the black lab living a few doors away from me. And her owner, Ann. Ann asked if I'd seen any signs of the homeless man. I admitted that I did. She had come up earlier this morning to see if there were any signs. Was she crazy!
What a weird dilemma. Why are we so afraid of the homeless? Wouldn't it be great to live in a world where we could feel comfortable about taking a homeless person into our homes and feeding him. Isn't that the Christian ideal. But the Elizabeth Smart case accents the perils of getting personally involved with strangers........