Eulogy for Dwight


It's Memorial Day.  I'm home after a full weekend of work, Ryan Adams and Jenny Lewis, hiking to Doris Lake, camping in the trailer at Elk Lake, casting a fishing pole and paddling on an SUP. It's been a very nice summer kick off indeed.  

However, this afternoon I started to think about Dwight.  You may know who I mean if you spend any time downtown Bend, OR.  Dwight was a homeless man who frequented Brooks St and downtown businesses. I heard him referred to as the old man hipster. He told me he had lived outside for four years.  I belived him. I found out this week that Dwight was found dead. The day before I heard the news I had mentioned to my husband that I was worried about Dwight.  He had been in the store a week before and had brought me two salted caramels from Goodies. He was making a nice gesture and was not talking in riddles as he often did.  Dwight drove me crazy at times.  He would sit on the bench outside Cowgirl Cash and smoke and holler at people.  My door would be open and I'd go out and say" really Dwight?  Do you have to be so loud?" He'd holler back something like "did I have to be so cranky?" One time he came in to the shop and told me he was just let out of jail, but all of his things were in Redmond.  I had $11 in my apron.  I gave it to him and told him to get something to eat and come back at 4, I'd take him to Redmond. At 3:30 he was on the bench smoking cigarrettes.  That's what he'd used the money for.  I texted my family and said I'm driving Dwight to Redmond...thought you should know.  In the car he criticized my driving, dissed my car, and made cracks about my dog. He was an absolute pain in the ass.  By the time we got to Redmond I peeled into the parking lot trying to really give him something to complain about and proceeded to kick him out. Other times I'd see him, and he'd greet me like a friend. " Hi Rebecca" he'd call as I rode my bike home under the underpass on Franklin. He'd be sitting in the shade with another hobo.

Often when he came in he'd have his money on display.  I'd say, "Dwight put your money away.  You don't have to show me your money to shop in here".  He bought things occasionally.  A peace flag he wore around like a cape.  A belt that needed another hole punched in it, a vintage suede coin wallet with snaps.  He always needed a receipt.  I don't know how he did it, but Dwight always looked good.  Sometimes strange, but with a sense of style that was uncanny. 

I know Dwight was 64.  I know he had a daughter about my age.  But I can't tell you where he was from, or if he was a vet or not. I'm thinking of him today.




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