Tuesday, June 02, 2009

The angel of Dorchester

Some people call her by the name she was born with, Shirley. Others call her Sweettart because her benevolent nature is paired with her sharp tongue. She can swear like a sailor when her dander is up but at her center is a sparkling, 14 karat heart. She has a wall-eye too, which can be a bit disconcerting when you first make her acquaintance.

You can often find Shirley on Dot Ave where she picks cigarette butts and bottle caps out from between the seams in the sidewalks. She carries a plastic bag from Shaw's to carry her treasure. What does she do with all the detritus? No one knows and she won't tell. She does her part to keep the streets spic and span.

Fond of toddlers and the elderly, Shirley also collects tennis balls that wash up on Malibu Beach. She always keeps a few in the pockets of the windbreaker she wears year-round. She hands them out to children and she repairs the legs of old folks's walkers at Edison Green. She likes neither dogs, cats, nor rats and when she sees them in her path, she pelts them with tennis balls until they move out of range.

She is always happy give small change to panhandlers and always happy to receive a compliment. "Sweettart, you're looking mighty fine today," the soccer fans smoking outside the Banshee will tell her. "Thank you," she replies with a blush and a flutter of eyelids as one eye looks at the sidewalk and the other at her admirers' ankles.

Dorchester may not be the prettiest place (to some) but it a place that takes pride in its appearance and takes care of its own.

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