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Friday, November 20, 2009

Looking for Blossom

This is one of Natchez's more recent characters. He's been walking around town for the last few years, going into people's yards, picking their flowers, and taking them around town to sell to tourists. He had a bad limp, and appeared to be homeless.

In addition to making homeowners with deflowered gardens angry, he also caught the wrath of shopkeepers downtown, who would chase him away for panhandling or squirting samples of their expensive perfume onto his handkerchief.

He came by the shop where I work one day and I invited him in to sit for a photograph. He said his name was Morris, and that he was once a civil engineer. He told me he'd had his pelvis crushed in some kind of accident, which is probably true, considering the limp he had. Other than that, I have no idea if there was any truth in anything else he told me. He said he was a Katrina refugee, and that made perfect sense. I could just picture him in the French Quarter, along with scores of other sad stories.

He dressed flamboyantly, with a big leather hat topped off with a feather; a sleeveless, leather vest often with nothing underneath but his dark, dry skin stretched taut over his ribs and thin frame. And lots of chains and jewelry. He sometimes wore a gold cape, and carried a cane, limping through town on the lookout for some money.

He started coming by pretty regularly after that first visit, because I didn't have the heart not to give him a little money. He had what looked like needle tracks in his arm, and there were days when he was clearly out of his mind. But he was never a threat. Just one of the sad stories of the mentally ill who have no place to go.

Then about three months ago, he stopped coming by. I thought he was probably cooling his heels in the city jail as he had been once before for a few days. I waited. He never came back.

One day I saw an entry in the police report in the paper that a body had been found on Broadway Street, and I wondered if it was he. There was no story about the body. I've asked around, and everyone seems to think he's dead, but no one knows any particulars. I've heard he was hit by a car, but it's anybody's guess as to what really happened or where he is.

It's really none of my business, but I would like to know whether he's alive or dead. If anyone knows about Blossom, please let me know. Just because. Thanks.