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Today I noticed, while walking through North Park, posters for missing animals. One pleaded for the return of a basset hound named Chloe. Another for a small black cat named Spider. The newest is a “FOUND” poster for a white parakeet its temporary parents had nicknamed, “Chuck.” I don’t know how one “finds” a parakeet. Seems like it would be the other way around.

Behind me at the grocery store a man has a shopping cart full (and I really mean full) of various flavors of rice cakes and nothing else. After speaking with him briefly he was obviously missing his sense of humor. My husband said quietly, “I wonder if that’s all he eats now. Maybe he lost his job and he’s trying to save money.” The thought hadn’t occurred to me.

From a busy neighborhood street I notice rows of newly planted trees. At the base of each tree are small plaques covered with newly turned dirt. The street borders a canyon where many years ago a young girl was found dead after being abducted by a stranger. The bottom of each plaque reads, “Thank You,” in large, cursive letters.

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Today I noticed a man with darkish, leathery skin and plenty of thick, slicked-back hair pushing a bright pink stroller. He wore what looked to be a very heavy backpack. The doll-sized stroller carried a baby with dark hair wrapped in white.
The man looked tired. His clothes were rumpled and his face unshaven, but he moved efficiently.
The light turned and he began pushing the stroller across the street. About halfway he suddenly turned toward the curb and shouted something I couldn’t hear. He then took two steps toward the curb, his hands adjusting the heavy backpack. For a moment it looked as if he was abandoning the baby in the street.
Suddenly a boy, about four, came rushing after them, his own black backpack slipping off his small shoulders.
The man, stroller and boy made it across just as the light changed. They did not speak as they continued walking.

A man in acid-washed jeans and an unwrinkled purple button-up shirt walks away from Chris’, the neighborhood market. His curly hair is matted on one side, but his round face is clean-shaven. He carries a bottle in a plain brown bag in one hand. On his other arm rides a blue bird the size of a toddler, head up like a beauty queen. Both are quiet. It is 7 a.m. on Tuesday.

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