“I’M BLESSED!’ He announces when he boards my bus each day. And then upon leaving he blesses all within earshot.

A passenger, not a street preacher, this affable retired black guy bubbles as he bounces from stop to stop. Obviously interested in the lives of other passengers, he find an open seat in the rear of the bus and engages. Laughter and caring exude as he inquires into the lives of others sharing the blessing of his interest in these brief encounters.

As a younger man, he found employment throughout the Valley as a male model, thats what I said, a male model for our covey of artists and art photographers. In fact, I was browsing a gallery of older pieces on North Avenue, not long back, when I saw him, in the buff, peering back from the canvass of one of our locals. He was once married but now lives singly helping to support a college bound son. This year has seen him through serious illness and hardship but never draining the “blessing” from his veins.

Everyday I settle into the drivers seat I find myself looking forward to our daily encounter and his almost certain blessing.