Friday, October 27, 2006

Nikon D2H Shoot: Who Feeds Pigeons? Here's One Sweet Person.

I had originally planned to cover a dance troupe that planned on performing at the amphitheater at Harborplace early in the afternoon. With the show cancelled due to the threat of inclement weather, I spotted Doris scattering bread crumbs for the birds. Glad to have herself in pictures, she shared some of her story. The pictures aren't at all award-winners. But a snippet of someone's life can make for an engaging little piece.

Greeting Doris

Doris visits Harborplace every day, she says, to enjoy the people and sights of downtown Baltimore.

There are too many bad things going on where she lives, and Doris yearns for an emotional oasis; a place where she can sit back, relax, and simply let her mind drift towards good moments and memories of her past 53 years.

"I like the water and the flowers and trees and the grounds are very pretty, and the grass is gorgeous. I can go shopping, I can go eat, you know. Meet people, talk to people; people that got respect for you. I like that."

For 30 minutes out of her afternoon, Doris enjoys life among her friends and family. Her friends are the strangers that walk by, or pause to take her picture. The tourists capture photos of her while feeding the dozens of pigeons and seagulls who keep her company. Doris calls them her children.

Her generosity even rubbed off on Kenneth of northwestern Baltimore, who sat ten feet from Doris at the amphitheater, after shopping in Fells Point. Running out of bread, Kenneth dug into his stash of handmade fudge that he had just purchased in the Light Street Pavilion.

"It costs too much money to give to the birds!" Doris calls out.

"It's all right," Kenneth responded, plucking small pieces off a slice chocolate fudge, flicking them down to the brick sidewalk. "I just realized I had some chocolate," Kenneth explains. "I didn't want all that they gave me - two of them free - so I kept two of them and just gave the other ones to the pigeons." The birds never perch on Kenneth's hands, yet they fight to rest on Doris's lap or hands. "They're like my children, my own children."

Her thoughts then turned to memories from her past.

Doris recalled meeting London, a World War II veteran, after running into him by chance at a shopping center in New York City. They married in 1976 and lived together until his death in 1984. Doris lost her residence and moved in with her sister in Arlington, Virginia, in 1994.

Eventually, Doris moved to Baltimore, but has no place to call her home. "I just live with some friends, until I can do better," she says, while brushing the last of a small stash of dried crumbs from the remains of a cupcake. "Every time I come out here, these birds will always come around me, and I always give them some bread, every day." With a heartfelt laugh, Doris's face beams with pride. "They notice me every day. Every day."

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