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A few days ago I called Tricia to find out how her doctor’s appointment went, got her voice mail and left a message. Tonight she called back. It looks like the hip replacement operation will have to be postponed – she has a staph infection in her blood that needs to be treated and the doctor wants her weaned off cigarettes and beer before she goes into the hospital. I commiserated with her about the delay and the possibility of going into rehab – which will probably be the only way for her to quit, and promised to pick her up for a girls’ day – including taking her to Jack in the Box for curly fries, but she still seemed down. She asked me if I remembered Luba – another homeless woman who lived in her old camp. I said yes of course – Luba was a slight Hispanic woman of middle age with a quick smile. She had a little chihuahua dog who shared her sleeping area. Tricia told me that Luba had died the day before yesterday – no one knew what caused her death. It could have been anything; there is so much untreated illness among the homeless. She was 56 years old. I hadn’t heard of her death- although I had read that the Amtrak train recently hit a homeless couple loitering near the tracks in our town, killing the man and severely injuring the woman. I checked those names to make sure it wasn’t Ben and Tricia. I wonder who mourns her.

Box Car Kids

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