So the last few weeks I’ve been spending quite a bit of time with my good friend Izzy who works for me and helps me out. What started as an attempt to help out a guy living out of his truck behind a house I bought has become a pretty significant friendship for me. I spend more time with Izzy some weeks than I do with anyone else. “You help me, I help you” is his motto for our friendship, but really he is very kind, very loyal, and a stand up guy, although very shy around people he doesn’t know.
He comes over most days (today) for coffee in the mornings, and he likes to do tilework, brickwork (he was a mason for 20 years), and he is pretty handy with a hammer. He lives in one of my apartment buildings. I take care of his insurance and various paperwork for him. I trust him completely, and he is more like a relative than a worker– kind of like a zaney puerto-rican uncle I never had (all my uncles were swedes). Sometimes he will drive my volvo, and his head just sticks up over the wheel barely– I love seeing him wheel down the road in that thing. I have had many fun and funny experiences with Izzy in the last few years, and we have a fun relationship. He keeps us positive when we are working– always looks for a solution to problems we’ve got, always tries to help out any way he can, and he is really resourceful– and funny. I consider his friendship a gift from God.
This week he’d been mentioning that he had a little bill to pay down at Salinas at 33rd and Cali. Salina has a nice little market, and she will eextend credit to people she knows. Izzy, likeable as always, sometimes hangs out with Salinas family on the weekends, so he has credit with her. Anyway, there was a bill to settle, so after work I said “lets go pay that salina bill” and Izzy said “that sounds good, maybe I can pick me up some cigarettes!” (He has told me many times that he could stop drinking (he did for 10 years once!) but smoking?– “uh-uh” he always says, wagging his finger in the air at the idea.
So we went to Salinas, where you can get fresh meat and vegetables (including cactus leaves) and icon-candles and all kinds of latino kitchen cleaners and canned goods. As we brought our goods to the counter (I got some chips and jallepenos and candles) I told Salina I also wanted to cover what Izzy owed her. As she looked it up, I pulled out my checkbook. She talked to Izzy a little bit, and then said to me, “I don’t accept checks usually, but I will this time since you know Izzy” and then she talked to him some more in spanish and acted a little surprised, and then smiled at me and took my check. We said our thank yous and went out to the volvo.
Izzy said “she asked me how I knew you and if you were a good guy, and I said ‘this guy owns my building! he’s good for the money, don’t worry!'” and we both had a good laugh.
Good thing I know Izzy so I can get my checks cashed at Salinas. Just goes to show, it helps to know the right people…
May God continue to have mercy on us all…