Our Old Jim.

Old Jim is one of the fixtures in my neighbourhood. I think he’s 79 years old. He fought in Korea, and has had several wives/girlfriends, and has numerous offspring, none of whom are in Vancouver. I believe his youngest son is 14 this year. Jim grows an amazing garden out back of the apartment building he lives in, and is my go-to guy for gardening advice. If you can get him to talk, he has great stories.

I was surprised and saddened when our friend Rubin said he saw Jim panhandling at Broadway and Granville. Rubin pointed out that he was probably panhandling for beer money, but to me, that’s neither here nor there.

Is the Old Age Pension so small that seniors are really struggling? I called my Old Guy Expert (My Dad), who pointed out that different people get different amounts, depending on what they put in. Maybe Jim never expected to live this long, and didn’t plan accordingly. Maybe he doesn’t mind panhandling. Anything could be possible, in the circumstances.

But it still bothers me.

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