Joe Harper’s Dishes

I have Joe Harper’s dishes. I have no idea who Joe Harper was. I suspect he was a big man and suspect as well he was sick at the end.

Let me explain.

Back when I returned to the D in 2011 there were at least 50 abandoned houses within a few blocks of where I settled. Hell, the house I settled in had been abandoned for at least 2 years itself. The whole neighborhood had a dystopian feel to it. No kids around. Not a lot of adults, either, though the occasional pack of loose dogs could be seen from time to time.

An interesting side note about loose dogs here. I was out and about with the little guys one day soon after moving here when I ran into a pack of those loose dogs. Could have been a disaster had a complete stranger not come along in his car, spot my dilemma, pull over and, gun in hand, told me he had me covered. Me and the little dogs turned around and headed home, him driving slowly behind me, covering my exit. Ya gotta love the D.

There were few, if any, streetlights so night took on an ominous, somewhat thrilling tone. There were whole blocks of trashed houses and empty lots full of weather beaten furniture and appliances, burned out cars and piles of trash. Odd as it may seem to some, I rather liked it. It fit my mood.

I started exploring these abandoned places, partly out of curiosity, partly to look for things I could salvage for my own place. It was a strange experience, walking through what once was someone’s life.

Which brings me back to Joe Harper.

His house was two blocks from mine, second one from the corner. The houses to either side were abandoned as well. The house to the south was pretty much devoid of anything salvageable while the house on the corner to the north was beyond trashed, walls torn out, windows boarded and the living room floor had rotted away. I did manage to get 1 double pane window out of the place but that was it.

Interesting side note here. Someone has restored that corner house. I’m rather happy to see that. I wonder if I should offer to give them the window back?

Unlike many abandoned house I explored, Joe Harper’s place was full of stuff. Trashed, of course, nothing that was worth much to the scrappers and scavengers, but full. There were clothes scattered from one end of the house to the other. the sizes of which is what led me to believe he was a big man. Dishes, silverware, pots, pans, canned food and spices in the numerous cupboards. There were tables and chairs and a huge bed in the bedroom along with a large dresser. There were pill bottles scattered all over. Nothing worth ingesting unless you were sick, which I suspect poor Joe may have been. He may well have died in that house. Whatever the case, no one bothered to clear out the place or board it up after he was gone. A sad story repeated too often in this town.

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