The Wolf was a block and a half away when I turned toward the coffee shop. There’s a sunny spot on the street where I see him on cool mornings. That’s where he was, sitting on his walker, soaking up a little extra warmth.
I make a point of not driving up to him in a police car when I spot him. Back in the day, me pulling up in a police car was often the start of a bad evening for at least one of us. It just works out better now to let him come around on his own.
When I walked out of the shop with my hot chocolate (with blackberry syrup, trust me on this one) he was out near the driveway. “Good morning, Sarge, God bless you.” I returned the blessing and he turned back toward the street.
I walked toward him. As I got close I spoke quietly – “coming up behind you.” He laughed and asked why I didn’t warn him like that twenty years ago. “You know damned well why I didn’t” I said. He grinned and admitted that he did. Read the rest of this entry »
Back in 2011, I wrote a piece called The Sheep Dog And The Wolf Go For Coffee. It is about old rivals crossing paths a few decades and miles from where they once tormented each other. You might want to read that one before you go on to this post.
Yesterday, the old men met again. The Wolf is still with us. Though his body is starting to fail, his spirit has grown healthier.
The Wolf was outside the coffee shop when I drove up. He’d been kind of scarce. The word was that he’d been hospitalized.
The old wolf started roaming the neighborhood again a few weeks ago. I’d see him now and again, pushing the walker he’d been using about a year. I wanted to check on him, but I kept to my practice of not stopping to engage him. I’d stopped to engage him quite a bit in our past and I know he’s still wary when a police car pulls up near him.
There he was, sitting in the sun on his walker. He was talking to a young woman and her child. Their innocence made me smile. They had no idea who The Wolf was. He spoke gently with them; they laughed, accepted his blessing and moved on. While I held the door for the mom and her son, The Wolf called out to me.
“Happy New Year, Sarge. Nice day, ain’t it?” I took that as my sign it was OK to go over to him. “Happy New Year to you, I’m glad to see you out again” I said. “Heard you haven’t been feeling good.”
He told me he was better now. The stents they’d put in his heart were good and the stroke “…ain’t gonna kill me if that dope never did.” Read the rest of this entry »
The Wolf hangs around a coffee shop in a trendy part of town. His hair is flecked with gray. The slight limp he had years ago is now pronounced. He smiles more than he used to. His gaze is still sharp, but the ill will that once shone there is gone.
Coffee shop bustle surrounds The Wolf. He is a regular. People drift in and out, greeting him as they pass. He lingers, joking a little with the women behind the counter before he moves on.
The Wolf walks this greener pasture among sheep he’d have savaged twenty years ago. Today, they have nothing to fear from him. Read the rest of this entry »