Sunday, June 3, 2007

Joe Redman

Redman is what he calls himself, not his real name. He has red hair and likes to wear red jackets and T-shirts. He also has a red baseball cap. It's a relief to me that his predilection for the red color doesn't go lower than his waist.

Joe befriended me when I was new, alone and penniless in the City of Brotherly Love. I was struggling to find a foothold for my new life in a strange land. His marriage was in tatters and he had left home to make a new start.

Joe liked to take me with him in his dilapidated, fusty van to the New Jersey shore on his fishing trips. He took me to racing courses and horse farms. He brought me to the neighborhood bar to throw darts. I learned my first American bad words from him.

Life had never been easy for Joe. At ten, he had run away from an abusive father, mingling with picnic crowds to get food. He had drifted from place to place, taken all sorts of odd jobs to survive. Luckily enough, his hard life had made him tough but wise, kind and funny as hell.

Years went by, my life has changed for the better and so has Joe's. We remain friends and stay in touch, and I certainly hope that we'll still be friends for many more years to come.

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