There's a spot in the kitchen that we tell people is the exact place we were standing when we decided to buy the house. It's true, the realtor was leading us through, and when we saw the inlay in the floor and the stained glass on the kitchen pass-through, Emjay and I turned to each other with the look that says, "we're buying this house!"
But I had already decided I wanted it, weeks before. I had driven around the city taking pictures of all the houses for sale, to go over later with Emjay and narrow down the choices. It had snowed recently.
I saw Enos, who owned the house next door, using his snowblower. Of course I didn't know his name yet. His winter clothes meant business. I bet he had matches and a candy bar in his pockets, in case he was trapped in the snow in front of his house and had to spend the night.
You could tell he was the sort of guy who liked power equipment. He proudly wrestled the handles of his 12-horse snowblower against about 2 inches of snow. He clenched a fat, unlit cigar in his wide grin. His young son played in the snowbank near him.
I took one look at Enos and thought, "I want to live next to that guy."
We bought the house. Enos's wife Jill was a great neighbor too, and their 7 year old Keenan was a nice kid. I learned that Enos was really on his second life. He'd been disabled at work and was on disability pension. Some time before he'd also been a drunk, on the streets. I found this out when a man came by begging money, and Enos hustled him away before I could say a word.
"Ain't nobody has to go hungry in this city," he told me, "That's just his excuse."
Enos knew. He'd been there, he'd pulled himself out of the hole, and he had nothing but contempt for the ones who were to weak to do so themselves. I think he felt the same way about his old self.
This post is Completely True.