This is Ray and I met him at his usual spot on the street in Portland, Maine. Portland attracts many like Ray because of it’s very strong Social Services program. This is well know to the many homeless found in Portland.
Ray is not atypical of the panhandlers I have met. He spent about twelve years in the Marines and has been on the streets mostly since being discharged. It was in the military he learned discipline and also from his Marine father. He works occasionally at his carpenter trade but mot regularly.
He remembers his fondest memory being when he was about eight. His father waked him up five in the morning and took him fishing. He remember it vividly down to the smallest detail that he was using a bumblebee fly. There was a smile on his face the whole time he was tell the story.
I said goodbye and gave him my usual five dollar Dunkin Donuts card and he gave me a pair of L.L.Bean chemical hand warmers that a women had given him.