Friday, August 04, 2006


My Uja is a sensitive man.
Outwardly, looking at would never know it.
Talking to him when he's would never know it.
Being on the end of his would never think it.

But he is.

He tries to keep that hard shell showing, but the soft center peeks out every so often.
His store is on Queen Street, and there is no shortage of vangrants, homeless, and those that we generally don't want to deal with wandering into his shop.

A few years ago, I worked in his store on weekends, and while I spent many years above his shop as a youth, I've grown unaccustomed to the regulars on the street.
Dishevelled winos would come into his store, and he would drop them a fin or a twoonie.
He'd call them "Chief", and "Boss", and they would go on their way, thanking him on the way out.

One afternoon, after one particularly filthy frequenter left, I said to him: "Why do you do that? They just keep coming back..."

Uja smiled sadly and said to me "Haney...vee all jast van tragedy from da street..."

And then he went on to tell me the stories of those that have passed through his door.
People who had jobs, and lives, who fell.
Something happened, and they never recovered.

He reminded me that "Vee hev to stay human...",
...and to never forget that it could happen to anyone.