Today I met a wonderfully sweet man by the name of Dave. He was sleeping on a bench on 17th Avenue when I first passed him. On my return journey I decided to stop and chat. He told me he had grown up in Montgomery before it was part of Calgary. He reminisced of fishing on the Bow River before anyone else in his family was awake. He would catch a few whitefish, occasionally a rainbow trout, and fry them up for his dad for breakfast. What a wonderful memory!
Dave had a family once upon a time. He was married and has a son and daughter. A welder and mechanic by trade, he spent many years working up north in camps for the oil and gas industry. Now, at 66, he leaves the Drop-In Centre or Alpha House at about 5:30 am and walks the streets with his shopping cart, collecting bottles. He makes about $10 to $30 a day, enough to feed himself. He likes to keep a smile on his face and not get down about life.
Dave is such a gentle soul, just trying to survive. I may never know what brought him to this, but he seems caught in this state of remembering the good old days, while the present slips away. Perhaps it is Alzheimer’s, perhaps something else. Perhaps he is one of those souls for whom the world is not worthy.