It may be months before I see Darryl. He has had his own personal demons to deal with and for a mid-40 year old man, he is old. He looks old. Darryl used to drink a lot. His drinking never interfered in his vast ability to be a perfect painter. He's done time in prison for drugs, he's married divorced a few times. No matter what his problems have been - I like Darryl - and there's something about him that let's me know when the work is available he is the man for painting.
I haven't seen Darryl in a long time, when he showed up at my back door this afternoon. He smelled as if he hadn't bathed in weeks. But, he wanted work.
We agreed he could come to work after the house was set down. We agreed on a price per hour and the hours that we all work. Before he left, Darryl turns and says, "Ann (no that isn't my name but he has always called me Ann), I need a favor from you."
"Darryl you always need a favor from me."
"No I'm serious. I got a ticket riding my bike at night without lights and I need you to pay it like you did my other one. I need you to take care of my ticket with what I earn. I'm not on paper no more, but you understand that stuff more than me."
"Okay Darryl, work good, be on time, and I will deduct it from your earnings."
"You a good friend Ann, you always been good to me."
I think having the Langham House is more than "my project". It is a project that is bringing my neighbors and friends together - to share, to laugh, to work and to fellowship.
Darryl had no sooner left, when I got a phone call from Manuel, "Senora, si tenemous trabajaho de la pintura?" (Ma'am do you have work in the painting?) I now have three extra hands to clean, scrub, and paint. I know they are going to do great work. I'm grateful and counting blessings.