In my writings, I have wrote about a little bit of everything. I have wrote about snakes, bears, deers, and all kind of bugs and other creatures. The most amazing creature of them all is the human species of animals.
I think back on one person whom it took years for me to understand. I have made it a practice not to put anyone’s full name in one of my stories. I will make an exception in this one.
I remember the first time that I saw him. I lived where Arby’s fast food restaurant is now. Back then there was nothing but houses in that area. The center of attention was Scants Corner. On Saturday night, Scants Corner was a wild place.
The block where Scants Corner is was a grown up field of bushes and briars. The old drunks could hide and nobody could see them. The police left them alone. You would see them headed to the Love Nest on Saturday evening. The Love Nest was a beer joint that was on West Tenth.
Back to the man, which went way back. He was a tall boy growing up and had red hair that looked like it was on fire. He very seldom talked to anyone back then. People would call him names behind his back.
I remember that he found out that I collected bottles and sold them. He would bring some by the house and put them on the steps. I would thank him and he would smile and leave without saying anything to me.
I often wondered what he carried in the cart that he pushed around in front of him. Wherever he was, the cart was in front of him, moving as he did. When I was growing up and he was close, I would try to see what was in the cart. When he was young he didn’t associate with other people.
Lot of years passed and I grew up and went on the Police Department. I was in the patrol car on Martha Berry Highway when I spotted him. He turned down the street where the school was. I watched him; he was still pushing the cart along in front of him. I knew who it was even though the red hair was now as white as snow.
I would see him pushing the cart along the street in town from time to time. With nothing to do, I decided to see what he was up to. He went to the fruit and produce place that was on First Avenue at that time. He went to a box and, picking it up, carried it to a hydrant.
I watched as he washed each piece of fruit and separated them into some paper sacks that he had. Once he had them washed and sacked he headed down First Avenue. He went to a house that had two elder people sitting on the porch. He took a sack of the fruit and gave it to them. I watched him go back to the River Bridge and carry the rest under the bridge to some people who were there.
I went back to the produce place and talked to the people there. I was told that they put the produce aside that could not be sold and gave it to him. He cleaned it up and gave it to people who had no money to buy fruit. I often think of Alvin and wonder how many people he kept from being hungry.
I think about the young man with the fire red hair and how many years he helped others. They talked about him and what was wrong with him. I think about what kind of heart he had.
When I think of good people, I put him at the top of the list. Regardless of what people thought of him, to me he was a man who belongs at the top of the list. When you asked him his name, he would smile and say Alvin P. Dukerson.