Tag Archives: homeless

Just Another Day in Paradise

Just Another Day in Paradise

Photo– Linda Seccaspina San Francisco =Snapshots from an “Occupied” nation Open Salon 2011

This was the thirteenth in a series—- a column I used to do called “Horse with No Names” about the strangers that I met in my life.

May 2004, San Francisco

On Wednesday I stopped at a crossing light next to a homeless man that was pushing an overloaded shopping cart. I said good morning to him, he nodded and returned the greeting. I had not written anything in awhile for my column ‘Horses with No Names’ series because quite frankly there was no one that really stood out. When I write, I want words of honesty to come from my heart or I will not tell the story.

I really wanted this man to know someone gave a damn so I asked him his name. He told me it was Tony, but everyone called him “Caveman”. I looked directly into his eyes and could feel he had a story in him that I wanted to know.  I asked him if I could take a picture and he nodded affirmatively and we crossed the street.

As I took his picture I asked him how he got his name and he told me that he had received it when he belonged to ‘The Rainbow Family Gathering’. Not quite knowing what that was I Googled it and found out it was communities of people, who congregate in remote forests around the world for one or more weeks at a time with the stated intention of living a shared ideology of peace, harmony, freedom, and respect. 

Tony told me that at one of the gatherings someone had given him two large bones for his dogs and he ran around with one in each hand like a mad man. Looking at his wild dreads and envisioning the scenario in my mind I had no problem seeing this vision quite clearly how he got the name. He then told me he was exactly 36.9 years old as he counted the 9 months that he was in his mother’s womb as part of his age.

Tony was a really good person in his heart. I asked him what he would like people to know about him. Immediately words rushed out telling me that all he cared about was his fellow man. He told me he lived his life much like the film “Pay it Forward”. In one of my favourite movies 11 year old Trevor (Hayley Joel Osment) carries forth a teaching assignment to put into action a pyramid scheme based on doing good deeds rather than for profit. The recipient of the favour passes the favour to someone else and so on. How grand would this be if we all lived like this?

Tony told me if anyone needed a coat for the Bay area chill he was the first one to offer his and he asked for nothing in return. For Tony it is all about unconditional love. He has no worldly goods, so he looks for nothing else and he loves life. As I grasped his hand to thank him I could feel the energy of love come through his hand to mine.

When we get up every day do we live our life like Tony?

Do we appreciate what we have?

Do we take life for granted?

I walked away from Tony with a lot of questions in my mind.  Who is giving Tony the unconditional love that he so richly deserves? There are so many cuts to county, provincial and federal  budgets that have left little for people that need it the most.

Who loves them?

Most people have never really sat down and got to know a homeless person. I do stories on them because they are no different than you or me– they just have a different story.

Photo– Linda Seccaspina San Francisco =Snapshots from an “Occupied” nation Open Salon 2011

Update July 2022

So why did I decide to tell this story this week?

Last week I had a woman who was 62 call me and ask if I knew a good place for her to camp. I asked her why she was camping, and she immediately told me she had been evicted. What if your own mother told you she was camping because she was homeless? 

For far too long we have dealt with homelessness by warehousing folks in emergency shelters — if you can find room. Things will never change if politicians, media and most importantly us think the current solutions are okay. I was lucky after being on the phone for a few hours to find a temporary roof over her head– but, nothing is permanent. So when life gets hard, try to remember the life you complain about is only a dream to some people.

Poverty and homelessness have become the norm. Homeless people that die on the street is not news. In contrast– a drop in the stock market is. Just remember that person on the street is someone’s father or someone’s mother and they all have a story. Unfortunately, we have come dangerously close to accepting the homeless situation as a problem that we just can’t solve.

Photo– Linda Seccaspina San Francisco =Snapshots from an “Occupied” nation Open Salon 2011

The Lady Who Sang the Blues-Time Travel

Horses with No Names- The People’s Father Christmas

So I Met This Ticket Scalper – Horses With No Names

Linda’s Nickel Opinions — Blasts From the Past — Part 9

Linda’s Nickel Opinions — Blasts From the Past — Part 8

Linda’s Nickel Opinions — Blasts From the Past — Part 7

Linda’s Nickel Opinions — Blasts From the Past — Part 6

Linda’s Nickel Opinions — Blasts From the Past — Part 5

Linda’s Nickel Opinions — Blasts From the Past — Part 4

Linda’s Nickel Opinions — Blasts From the Past — Part 3

Linda’s Nickel Opinions — Blasts From the Past — Part 2

Linda’s Nickel Opinions — Blasts From the Past Part 1

When Worlds Collide–The Devil and the Frying Pan



Yesterday I saw a picture on Twitter of what a man found on the Toronto subway. Then I saw a comment “about life” by John Vyse on Facebook so– I decided to put the two together and wrote a fictional story about this photo.


A few weeks ago I got accosted at a rest stop by a crazy lady who wanted to know if there were devils in Ontario. I shouldn’t have rolled down the window to see what she wanted, because she covered a lot of ground.  I tried not to be worry about the five pens stuck in her hairdo because her track suit didn’t have pockets.

It went on like that for awhile until I told her she better step back because my car just told me it wanted to get going, and it was going to start up. She said okay and left. A security guard came over and asked if she had wanted money. I said no, but she had wanted the rusty frying pan I had in my back seat so I gave it to her.

It had been time to throw things out– and if she wanted to use that frying pan for devil worshipping so be it. I felt bad throwing it in the garbage, so I decided at least my conscience would be clear that I had helped someone–even it was a rusty frying pan to a woman who had 5 pens in her hair. After all frying pans are only slightly less effective murdering zombies than a shotgun.

Little did I know that somewhere waiting outside on the next block was a man with two other rusty frying pans in his possession and she gave him my old rusty pan like it was a work of art. The man had been living on the street, and had been disowned by his siblings, parents, friends – but  this crazy woman never gave up believing in him. If you keep knocking on the Devil’s door, sooner or later he or she will invite you in– and let this also be a lesson that no matter how useless you may think your junk is, someone will take it.

So how did the frying pan get left on the subway system? The man had survived on the street thanks to the crazy woman who may, or may not have been affiliated with the devil, and soon he began to pull his life together. After all, if you personally don’t set the tone for the day, the Devil will set it for you.

So did this man make a deal with the Devil? I believe he held on to himself while doing what was the most important thing. The frying pan meant hope to him so he left a little inspiration for someone else by leaving it on the seat.

If you can’t handle yourself or your life– maybe you need to talk to the Devil– as history is said to be an alternating series of frying pans and fires– and some of those fires may or may not be burning in hell.


Thanks to John Vyse for inspiring me.:)


Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in Hometown News and now in The Townships Sun





Missing Food- A Real-Life Scary Tale


In early 2016, after nine years  Downtown Carleton Place made the decision to suspend its Maskeraid Halloween Parade and optioned for a daytime event. It was one of the many events that brought donations in to the Lanark County Food Bank in October–now the food bank is attempting to find a solution for that loss.

 Manager Karin Nakamura found out through an email on Sept 23  from Downtown Carleton Place that the several hundred pounds of food was not going to be donated at the end of October and also donations collected from parade spectators.

Today is Halloween- and between you and me I have a couple of real true-life scary stories.

When I lived in California it was a regular occurrence to see families living in cars on the street. One family camped outside my building parked over night for  months. Bob the father had taught for a few years in an area high school and was laid off due to budget cuts. That teaching job had kept the family of 4 with barely a roof over their heads, payment of a few bills and just enough to pay for his wife’s insulin medication. There wasn’t a lot left for food, even with a job. Now homeless, they were in dire straits. Like those in need in Lanark County they used a food bank to help supplement their food.

When I volunteered at the Oakland Children’s Hospital Thrift stores years ago I remember a woman who came in and filled out a form so she could get some free clothes to search for employment. I quickly noticed her hands shaking so badly she couldn’t keep a steady hand to fill the form out. I asked her if I could help her and she began to cry. She told me she had not eaten in 4 days, and it took everything for her to sit in a chair and accept the food we immediately went out and got her.


Independent Store drop off –455 McNeely Ave Carleton Place

Bob and the young woman are only a couple of stories I could tell you about poverty and hunger that I have seen in my lifetime. Did you know that just over 13% of Canadians live in a state of food insecurity, which means they do not have reliable access to adequate amounts of safe, good-quality, nutritious food?

All sorts of people need the Lanark County Food Bank: families with children, employed people whose low wages do not cover basic living essentials, individuals on social assistance, and Canadians living on a fixed income, including seniors and people with disabilities.


Royal Bank Drop Off-  93 Bridge Street Carleton Place

 When you do your groceries throw in a few extra things for the Lanark County Food Bank this week and next if you can. If your family enjoys, needs or uses it– then so will all their families. Let’s help them make up that loss this month.

They say over 850,000 Canadians use a food bank each month– no one can help everyone–but everyone can help someone.

Remember the Lanark County Food Bank gets NO government funding!

Please donate to:

Lanark County Food Bank
5 Allan Street
Carleton Place, ON K7C 1T1
(613) 257-8546
They also have  an opportunity to win 600 dozen eggs – please vote. This would mean a lot to a lot of people.
or here
 Carleton Place – Lanark County Food Bank – The Hunger Stop
Shout out to Caldwell Street School
The gang at Caldwell Street Public School – UCDSB collected almost 800 lbs. of food for us yesterday. Amazing haul folks – thank you
Michael Crossan St. Gregory Catholic School – Carleton Place dropped by the warehouse yesterday with a 270 lb. gift from the kids.

Their big food drive is on November 12th. The food you donate this November sustains their families into the New Year.

Patrice’s in Almonte, and Freshco, Giant Tiger and Mitchell’s in Carleton Place will have pre-packaged bags for sale or you can pick your own.

Please give if you can and please share the post with your friends.

Russell Brand and Me – The Homeless and a Cart – Zoomers



Russell Brand and Me – The Homeless and a Cart – Zoomers.


“Russell Brand was driving around Hollywood in his Range Rover around November 15th when he accidentally smashed into a homeless guy’s shopping cart, filled with recyclables and other stuff. But Russell knows when he makes a mess — he quickly jumped out of his car and helped the homeless guy pick up the stuff and place it back in the cart. The homeless guy wasn’t hurt — and went on his merry way.”

Are you sure that arrow pointing at Russell was not the homeless guy as I can never tell the difference.