Tuesday, March 22, 2005

New In Newport

When I got off the bus in downtown Newport, Oregon...It was cold, dark and late in the evening.

I hitched my oversize pack onto my shoulders and headed for the local Baptist church building.

The congregation runs a sort of "day center/soup kitchen" there which is the closest thing that this community has to a shelter.

The City of Newport doesn't want to acknowledge the homeless population here. They have refused to establish a homeless shelter here which, to my mind, is a radical mistake.

I sat on the porch outside of the church building overnight, smoking cigarettes and listening to the fog horn.

Newport is situated right on the shore of the Pacific Ocean in the Northwestern section of the United States.

In the morning I met Jaime, [who sort of runs things there] took a hot shower, drank hot coffee, ate a hot meal and washed my clothes.

Then I walked outside and met Willie.

He is an older man who used to be a biker and completely changed his life when he became a Christian.

Will's wife died last year and he makes his way through every day with friends and a little Shit-Zu dog named "Muffin."

Willie and I decided that I would be better off staying with him, in his little trailer at Sawyer's Landing [four miles outside Newport] until the end of this month.

We get along very well.

He and I both like clam chowder and the ocean. We watch cable news and discuss world affairs. We don't drink and I haven't smoked a single cigarette since I met him.

Jeremy and I parted ways again in Billings, Montana and with the exception of one email I haven't heard from him since.

Willie and I are not romantically involved and never will be.

But he makes a great brother and an even better friend.

We never run out of things to talk about.

In fact, this past weekend, when a storm blew in off the water, we hunkered down in the trailer and talked our heads off.

Rain slashed against the windows and 70-mile-an-hour wind gusts buffeted the trailer.

We curled up inside, drank coffee and watched old movies.

I would very much like to settle here.

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