Sunday, November 28, 2010



I was walking down the streets of South Philadelphia one afternoon, taking in the atmosphere of the neighborhood, new ethnicities layered over an Italian base, ancient crammed in rowhouse structures that were around in O. Henry’s day, an O. Henry kind of setting.

I passed a small fenced-in enclosure behind a building outside which stood a middle-aged woman talking to an orange cat within the enclosure. The cat stood straight staring at the woman while the woman was talking: “C’mon Little Red, c’mon Little Red.” The cat stood staring at the woman, not moving forward or back. “C’mon LittlerRed. I have to go to work! C’mon Little Red,” and the orange cat named Little Red stood straight on its four legs and continued staring at the woman as if she were a bizarre curiosity.

Down the street walked a woman followed by a large brown dog not on a leash. I thought, the dog should be on a leash. Many people in South Philly walked dogs who weren’t on leashes. Suddenly the woman and dog halted and literally leaped into a doorway.

I glanced to the side as I passed the building. It was a former storefront that was now a residence. One sees that a lot in South Philly. Through the huge storefront window I saw the woman and her large dog, but also who were sitting in the room watching a small TV. With the window uncurtained, it was if they were on TV. Both men wore wool caps and thick coats. The woman kept her coat on. They must not have any heat, I thought, then continued walking.

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