Alan Jackson and the homeless man.



We found his home while looking for a geocache.

The clues and the GPS lead us right to where he lived. He wasn’t there, but we could see his bed roll, sleeping bag, some clothes and a bag or two. A bright, new-looking red cap was on his dirty pillow.

It seemed like trespassing, walking into someone’s home, if you could call it that, so we didn’t go into the trees to find the cache.

I’ve thought about that person, whoever he was, many times over the past week or so since then. Lying in the shelter of thick bushes and a high concrete wall right near the civic center where hundreds and thousands of people congregate regularly. A broad stretch of green grass and trees in a non-park setting, few people bothering to venture there, right in the heart of the entertainment. They have a ticket to the show, and he’s sleeping out in the open just a bit away.

I’ve said crazy things to my friend, like “he picked a good spot, really, because that high concrete wall effectively blocks the wind and some weather and the thick bushes on the other side protect and hide him from view. No one would ever know he’s right there in the midst of all that traffic and action.”

My friend agrees with me as I repeat it, allowing me to console myself. Yes, the bushes and the wall offer great protection. Of course, I have a roof over my head, and walls. Those offer even better protection.

Alan Jackson played a concert here this last week. Shiny black semi-trailers, emblazoned with his name, parked out front of the building. The nearby mall was packed with people who had come to town to hear him, killing time until the concert started. That homeless person was right there, and probably heard the concert for free.

There is a human being sleeping out in the open in the middle of it all, here in the real world.

Did it rain that night? I don’t remember. I stayed dry.