As I Walked from the Car to the Wine Shop

As I Walked from the Car to the Wine Shop


As I walked from the car to the wine shop for a bottle

of pinot grigio, I was intercepted by a slim, pretty-

well-built, not yet dissipated looking fellow begging

for something, anything monetary to get him by



for a while. These guys are no dummies. They play

on the guilt of those buying booze. I’m sure it’s

better than standing outside the local Goodwill.

Unfortunately, apparently, this wasn’t his day.


Actually, before he got to me to beg a bit, I saw

two young women coming out of the store and

back off from his advance and overture. One said,

speaking for both of them, “We don’t have anything.”


I guess they spent it all on booze. He moved to the

other side of the big, welcoming sliding doors and

approached a thirty-something guy heading in who

waved him off with condescending disgust. The brush


off was a violent sweep as he entered the sanctuary

of the enveloping arms of welcome and warmth.

I could have gotten safely through those doors myself

before he approached me, but the dismissive wave of the


arm really pissed me off.  Nobody deserves to be

waved off like that. The panhandler actually

blessed the guy and it sounded like he meant it. I don’t

know if maybe it is the ploy in which Fagan coached


young Oliver. I gave him a couple of bucks and you

would have thought I was Prince Rainer inviting him

off the streets of Monaco to a seven-course, royal feast.

“God bless you.” “I’m sorry that jerk blew you off.  No-


body deserves that.” “It ain’t right, you know,” he said.

“I’m a vet. I served my country.” I saw his dog tag

and cross. “Thank you for your service to our country.”

“No, thank you.” I saw him panhandling when I headed



for my car. I asked him what branch he had been in.

He had six years in the Air Force and left for the

love of a woman, which lasted two and a half months.

He said he should have stayed fourteen more for


the obligatory twenty. He would have had it made.

I smelled a bit of booze, but what the hey?  There

go I but for the grace of God and dumb luck. “Thank

you, sir. And God Bless,” I heard as I drove off.


I had put a Lincoln in his hand and you would

have thought I handed him the keys to the kingdom

when, in fact, he handed me the keys

for only two bucks and a fiver.  Go figure.



1 thought on “As I Walked from the Car to the Wine Shop

  1. YES! I’d write this in larger letters if I could! Thank you Robert for this fine piece – you’ve blessed me, too.

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