Thursday, September 10, 2020

City Serendipity

My boss from the California Conservation Corps, Jack Dugan, the Asst. Director of the program, a retired Army colonel, stayed at the City Center of the SFZC one night when we had an early meeting in the city the next day. I stayed there too. He joined in on the kitchen work and enjoyed it. After breakfast in the flop room he got into a spirited conversation with students about meditation and life in the city. He asked if people in the building had had any trouble in the neighborhood. There were a few stories about scary run-ins and and muggings. I mentioned that there had been some shoot-outs, break-ins, a few deaths. When I'd run the Green Gulch Green Grocer across the street, where the prior owner and two would-be robbers had died before we arrived, I'd gotten to know the kids in the neighborhood and had to deal with some vandalism from them but we got along. I'd developed a realationship with a tall, handome, black policeman named Lloyd Winston. He's played football with OJ and had that same sort of build. And he was helpful. I arranged a meeting with him and me and the mother of a kid who'd broken a picture window in the store - and the kid. Ricky. Boy did I have to deal with Ricky. But it was easy after that. 

When Jack and I went to get in his car to go to our meeting, it was blocked in by cars on both sides that were touching. If there'd been an inch on either side I thought I could have back n forth'd it out and even with touching sometimes you can ride up on the bumpers of older cars with sturdy metal bumpers and get out eventually. But it wouldn't budge. Jack was pissed. He had a temper. The owner of the car in front arrived and he couldn't get out either. It was an important meeting. The owner of the car in back arrived and he couldn't get out either. I went into the Green Grocher and called the police. Guess who answered the phone? Really. Lloyd. That's impossible I thought. Like this is a dream. He was there in a few minutes coming from the Haight Ashbury station and that was good because Jack and the other car owner were yelling at each other and about to get into a fistfight in the street. A tow truck arrived a moment later. They got us all out and kindly moved the car in front back in. Thats the last time I saw Lloyd Winston. Thank you Lloyd. 

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