Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Peabody "March"

So.... I met RachelBaby in Memphis to celebrate her Birthday a few days early. We stayed at The Madison, a nice boutique hotel (more about that later), but found ourselves with two interesting experiences involving The Peabody Hotel.

Our first (and more famous) is the march of the Peabody Ducks from the rooftop, to the elevator, out of the elevator, through the hotel lobby, and into the fountain.

I had seen the march of the ducks years ago, but I had forgotten how excited people of all ages get about these ducks. People were pushing, squatting, leaning, and crawling on the floor, vying for a better vantage point. Oh, and don't think Rachel and I didn't strong arm our way past some old ladies to get our spots!

We were walking up Beale (our feet weren't even a foot off the ground, much less ten) past the touristy, cordoned off section of the street and were headed up to Main when we saw this statue of The King.
I had already snapped a shot of Rachel, when a "wanderer" offered to take our photo. We begrudgingly agreed - I was sure that he was going to run off with my camera, but he didn't. He made sure we liked the photo, and then he asked if we could help him. I said, "You took a picture - I'll give you a dollar." He said that he didn't want money - he wanted some help to feed his family. We happily told him that we'd buy him and his family some food; after I asked if he knew where a grocery store was, He replied that there was one a couple of blocks away. I encouraged him to lead the way (making sure we stayed on the main, busy streets).
As we were walking, he told us of his family and his recent problems with homelessness and unemployment (It looks like he could get work as a photographer - his picture was better than most of mine). As we drew closer to our destination, I realized that we were going to the convenience store across from the Peabody (hence our second Peabody "march" of the day). He explained that he wasn't going into the store with us because the owners would be mean to him and throw him out, "It's really bad in Memphis, especially in this part of town." I realized what he meant: they don't want panhandlers outside of the Peabody. He continued, "There's a big problem with prejudice here, rich versus poor." I replied, "Don't worry, we're not rich." (I don't think he thought I was as funny as I did).
We arrived at the store, and we asked him what items he wanted or needed. At that point he started to change his mind; "I'd rather have money for the shelter, than for you to spend your money here." I told him we would give him groceries, not cash; he hesitantly agreed, "anything you can do. " The convenience store's selection was rather limited, but we got him some food and drinks. He said his thanks and hurried off down 2nd street.

I don't know if this guy was telling us the truth or not - I hope for he and his family's sake, he was lying. I don't want to be taken advantage of, but I'd hate to miss an opportunity to meet a real need.
These situations tend to be hard ones. In Matthew 25:35, Jesus says,
"For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink."
Hebrews 13:2 reads,
"Don't neglect to show hospitality, for by doing this some have welcomed angels as guests without knowing it."
(I really like the fact that the Holman Christian Standard uses the word hospitality). Hopefully, we did what we were supposed to do in this situation.

Dear, Mr. Wanderer, whether you're a panhandler (hoping for cash), a homeless dad, an angel, or Jesus, please enjoy the Cheetos, Poptarts, and Powerade.


Rachel Baby said...

He did take a great picture.

Good, southern hospitality!

Mom to Zoe said...

Aww..I saw that march just a couple of months ago at the Peabody in LR. Hilarious. I was just waiting for one of the ducks to poop on the red carpet.