I was at a food ministry outreach at the coast recently. While there, I had the privilege to speak with a few of the homeless folk receiving sustenance for the week.

One gentleman explained that he was an unemployed, heavy-equipment operator, but he said that being in his 70s, no one would consider hiring him. This, he went on, “In spite of the fact that I am better and healthier than most of them.”

Our conversation turned to the Rams’ eminent return to LA, to which he claimed, “I once tried out for the [San Diego] Chargers back in the days of Ernie “The Big Cat” Ladd. With that, he lifted the sleeve of his Hawaiian shirt to reveal a bicep the size of a bowling ball.

The fellow next to him was just as fascinating. With the mention of the Rams, this other person chimed in, “I was once the personal chef for Georgia Frontiere [former Rams owner].”

I was skeptical. However, I happened, by chance, to grow up next door to the boy who would go on to become the Rams’ executive VP and become the architect for the Rams’ move to St. Louis, Frontiere’s home town (he was my older brother’s best friend). So I quizzed him a bit and his answers quickly confirmed that this fellow was indeed who he claimed to be.

Even more amazing was his later declaration that he was the illegitimate son of a very famous Hollywood actor and comedian. The resemblance was, in fact, very striking.

These are but a few of the many homeless in our community, our nation, indeed our world, each with their own unique and amazing story.

As I gaze out my window this morning, snow falling heavily, with the fire roaring and coffee in hand, I can’t help but think that these folk may be homeless, but they aren’t hopeless. And I envy, in a way, their strength to fight on in the face of such great hardships.

And I’m grateful for our HELP Center and our churches here in Idyllwild who do so much to offer a helping hand for those in need.

And finally, I think about the scriptures where it says, “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by doing so some of you have unknowingly entertained angels.”

And that makes me wonder …

Mark Dean

Pine Cove