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Lives Intersecting...


This is Johnny Lickers, he had to spell his last name for me because when he initially said it I thought he was saying Johnny Liquors. We met this evening while I was out for a walk (before the rain) and was waiting at a traffic light and he came rolling up on his bike with his handlebars crammed with stuffed animals and an open bottle of malt liquor. I introduced myself and told him I was a fellow cyclist, then asked if I could take his photo...that all of the animals on his handlebars inspired me. He obliged and told me that there’s another guy around town who took his photo and has it in a book but couldn’t remember the guy’s name or the book. Johnny’s ancestry is Native American, the Onondaga Tribe, he told me. And then he rattled of a list of names tracing his ancestry back many generations here and in Canada. When I held out my hand to shake his he sternly said, “No!” and grabbed my arm at the elbow and motioned me to do the same so that we were in a sort of full-arm handshake, hand-to-elbow, and said we greet each other in the tribe with “saygo” (sp?), which is a friendly form of greeting. When I asked if he minded if I posted his photo on social media and gave him some addresses where to see it he simply said, “Yea sure, go ahead, whatever that is.” We chatted some more, mostly about the end of summer, and then told him I had to go. Parting and beginning to cross the street he called me by name and when I turned he said, “Thank you for being my friend. Everyday we meet new friends and today we are friends.” Yes Johnny, today we are friends, for however brief a period our lives intersected. My heart felt warm as I walked away, and shortly thereafter it began to rain.

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