Topic: "Apocalypse Now?" (3)
"Young man, could you help me for a moment please?"
Frodo turned to a man in a wheelchair. He had a blanket across his lap, a sweater about his shoulders, a fedora covered his head, and, the oddest thing, a cigarette holder in his hand.
"Yes, sir, I suppose not all city streets are totally adapted to ramps for the disabled are they?"
"Apparently not," he snorted.
Frodo pushed the ancient wheelchair up over the curb, and started to walk away as he sought the continuance of his quest.
"Thank you, young man, and may I say that you appear somewhat familiar to me. Are me acquainted?"
Frodo had had the same thought.
"My name is Frodo Sir, and I am from the Shire. Downtown Atlanta is not far, but it is also a great distance in many respects and I am not here often."
"Well, my name is Franklin. Have you ever been to Warm Springs?"
"Indeed I have. It is truly a lovely place. Is that your home?"
Franklin nodded and smiled at Frodo. "Well what brings you to this place that is 'not far, but also a great distance,' Mr. Frodo?"
Pausing, Frodo looked into the eyes of Franklin, and wondered if he should simply bid the stranger adieu, or to share his quest with one who may think him stranger than most.
"I read something in this morning's paper which upset me Sir, and I decided that I had to do something to help right a wrong. It required that I come downtown and offer some assistance to a worthy cause."
"Oh, would you mind sharing with me what it is that has so upset one on 'Super Sunday'?," he smiled.
"The bodies of four apparently homeless people were found in various spots around Atlanta yesterday. I read that all of them were over 50 years of age, none had been identified, and that it appears that each death was coincidentally weather-related."
Franklin simply stared at Frodo. He no longer smiled, and he said "What, Mr. Frodo, is it that you propose we do?"
Frodo was a little startled by the use of the word "we," but he responded directly, "The Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless" was referred to in the paper and they seek out such people, and bring them in for shelter and food. I looked them up in the telephone book (404-589-0636), and decided I could come down and bring them a check." Frodo continued, "The Executive Director there was pretty upset when she heard what had happened, and she remarked about how difficult it is to deal with some of their 'clients' who are psychotic or simply afraid and don't know what to do. She said that once the decedents are identified, it is likely that at least one would be a Veteran."
Franklin looked at the Hobbit, and seemed to be trying to form words of his own. "It is so hard for me to help."
"You, sir," began Frodo, now recognizing exactly with whom he was speaking, " have done your share. It was you that taught Frodo to believe that in this country no one should starve, or freeze, in the lonely darkness. This is why government exists; to protect the smallest and the weakest. I am just doing what I can."
"God Bless you, Mr. Frodo. It is what I tried to ensure."
"God Bless you, Mr. Roosevelt. Frodo will do better to make sure that we don't let you down again."
When Frodo looked back, the man in the wheelchair had turned the corner and was gone. Frodo turned his collar to the cold, and knew that he would soon be that much closer to the destruction of the Ring. The "Greatest Generation" had done their part.