Three weeks ago I was walking Lucy, my young dog, on Avenue U past The Osprey Café when I noticed a young man on the sidewalk doing a sun salutation. Beside him on the ground was a large and fairly new looking backpack; a large dog was guarding it. I was startled when he called out, “Have a beautiful day!” and called back, “You, too.” I thought that was the end of it.
Twenty minutes later and four blocks north, emerging from the beach to the Prom, the man and his dog were right there. As he was clearly about to start foraging cans from a bin, I tried hard not to look and slunk past.
“Find any strawberries?” he said. “I did.” He held out his hand, offering me a berry. Five or six berries were nestled in a somewhat grubby looking cotton handkerchief in his hand.
“Thank you,” I said, accepting one. “But I feel badly taking this as I have nothing to give you in return.”
“You could talk to me for a few minutes,” he said. “People turn away when they see me. This life is so lonely.”
So I did talk to him.
A week later I was working at my desk when a car rolled up out front. Two older women were in the front seats. They were pointing at my house. I think I frightened them when I opened the front door. I called out, “Can I help you? Are you looking for someone?”
They said they were sisters who grew up in Astoria. Now they live someplace else. They were back in town for a family reunion and decided to drive around. My house, they said, decades ago, belonged to their aunt and uncle. I asked if they wanted to come in and take a look.
Inside, they marveled at the remodel, which was done long before I bought the house. They confirmed what is now the master bedroom was at one time the garage. They described exactly how the original kitchen was. They said all their family gatherings were held at this house. They had lots of happy memories of being in the house.
The house does have a good vibe.
Last week I was walking both dogs past The Osprey Café. A couple having breakfast at an outdoor table began talking to me. It actually started when the man called out, “Hey, is that dog double jointed?” referring to Basil’s twisted leg. I explained he was born crippled. That made them sad. They said they drove to the Oregon Coast from Tennessee. This was their first time in Seaside. They were loving the weather. The husband wanted to know where he could shoot elk, to which I replied, “It’s the wrong season, they’ve recently calved, and nowhere right around here anyway.”
For a week the house next door has been filled with a large family of vacation renters. No rules have been broken regarding parking or noise, but yesterday the trash bin overflowed on to the street and the crows were having at it. It’s my custom to attempt eye contact or at least say hello to anyone who rents the house, but this time I was feeling a tad unfriendly, at least until I met their happy and excited Chihuahua, whose name is Titan.
Two young women came to the gate the other day. They said they were from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They were looking for good works to do and did we need assistance.
“Doing what?” I asked.
“Yard work, moving furniture, painting, whatever someone needs,” one of them said. “I love your belt, by the way,” she added, referring to the silver skull at my waist.
I said I didn’t need any help at the moment but accepted the card they gave me. It had a bit of scripture printed on it from Acts 10:38.
“HE Went About Doing Good,” it said.
If you do need help, dial 503-468-9086 and ask the missionaries.