Letter To Ray Norsworthy

by m.s.wardrip

Howdy, Ray.
I’ve been wanting to talk to you about sardines for a while. We sit in the shade of the 2nd Avenue Bridge in Nashville, Tennessee next to a pile of discarded wet and moldy colored clothes. A rusting shopping cart with removed wheels sits on it’s side nearby. Several of us, about seven I’ve counted including myself, stay under the bridge at night. Most have a sleeping bag stashed in the bushes by the guardrail. Two of us have cardboard condos. Bosco Bill and me ( Drippy Hippie.) Bosco’s is an old refrigerator cardboard box that he duck-taped for reinforcement. He has a towel for a door and has so much stuff in plastic bags inside that there’s hardly enough room for his body. I ask him all the time, “What is more important, you or your stuff?” He will just laugh and say something like, “That’s what houses are for, a place to keep your stuff.” Personally, I like a tidy place. My cardboard mcmansion is made from a paletized shipping crate. It’s really heavy cardboard. It’s very heavy and it took three of us to pull it under the bridge. The police don’t bother you under here and that’s why I decided to build here. I have furniture, plastic milk crates, stacked up to make a bed, shelves, cabinets and a TV stand. Yes, that is correct, a TV stand for my TV. My TV is a black and white 5" Panasonic. I bought it at the Goodwill Store downtown for two dollars. It runs on a 12 volt car battery. I power it with a copper conductor telephone cable stretched across the vacant lot to a car that’s always parked by the Italian restaurant. The dishwasher who works at night said it was okay for me to hook it up, so I do. It gets great reception and lights up my whole house, even the pictures on the walls! If I fall asleep, Jose, the dishwasher, will undo the cable and lay it on the ground, ready for tomorrow night. If I can afford it, I enjoy a snack of sardines and crackers while I watch a show or two. It’s a little noisy under the bridge and we all know we might have to move on a moments notice, but still, home is home. I’m saving up to buy some new socks and underwear. It’s funny, those are the two things the charities rarely pass out. I enjoy living off the grid and it gives me the courage I need to overcome my handicap. Just because I won’t put up with abuse from society is the very reason I am here. Blessing or curse, you decide. I absolutely adore “Bumble Bee” Sardines in mustard sauce! — Your friend, m.s.wardrip

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