What Do They Keep?
January 11, 2010 8:23 AM   Subscribe

"I found him, this little dog in a dumpster down in the projects in the South Side while I was pickin’ up cans. The reason I picked it up is because whenever I see a little child I give it to him."

After seeing the request for help in the bulletin one Sunday morning, Susan Mullally volunteered to take the photos for the church directory. The church is The Church Under The Bridge, and the congregation is primarily the homeless. Mullally's photos aren't of just the person, but also include something important to them - an object which, despite lacking a permanent place to put it, must be treasured.
posted by AzraelBrown (10 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
imagining the reaction of a mother if this man tried to give her child that garbage stained dog almost made me cry.
posted by 256 at 8:57 AM on January 11, 2010 [3 favorites]

It's a good thing nobody cut up that little dog to undermine the resale value.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:02 AM on January 11, 2010 [7 favorites]

The info with that little dog photo reminded me of one of our society's saddest ironies:
people in the construction trades so often end up homeless.

I mean imagine if we had a rampant illiteracy problem in the publishing trade?
posted by idiopath at 9:06 AM on January 11, 2010

These are amazing - thank you.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:24 AM on January 11, 2010

This makes me sad. There's something about this photo that speaks volumes. He looks so proud, a Vietnam vet, saluting the camera - and he's homeless.

I dislike that our government doesn't care for our war veterans.
posted by Malice at 9:32 AM on January 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

These are amazing. Thank you.

The man, W.P. Ratliff is his name, holding the business card that he found for "new homes" just destroyed me.
His words:

I found this card and I cleaned it up and it's about new homes. It's old but it's still good. Out on Highway 59. Take this home phone and see if it's still good. New homes. It says Chris Boone. It's still good. New homes.

I retired; I don't work at all. I have to stay in Waco. I have to come back each month to get my money.

I think it's when I read "it's still good" that I feel the tears start to well up.
The naked hope contained in those words and the humanity they represent...reminds me that we all have our talismans and mantras and phone numbers that we're going to call someday.

"It's still good."
Hope. It hurts but we can't live without it.
posted by mer2113 at 9:37 AM on January 11, 2010 [3 favorites]

It always strikes me how so many people who have so little feel so taken care of by god. I'm not talking solely about material possessions, either.
posted by scratch at 9:56 AM on January 11, 2010 [3 favorites]

imagining the reaction of a mother if this man tried to give her child that garbage stained dog almost made me cry.

For some reason i thought that he gave the stuffed animals to homeless children he met.
posted by djduckie at 5:02 PM on January 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

scratch: I'm inclined to think it's a sampling bias. Its unsurprising to find astonishment among the people who are willing to talk, who manage to stay out of jail, who manage to stave off being completely overtaken by prejudice, illness, & addiction of various kinds.... The odds are simply stacked up so high against a person.
posted by honest knave at 5:11 PM on January 11, 2010

Good point, Knave.
posted by scratch at 6:24 PM on January 11, 2010

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