Tabatha Deans

Bringing Integrity to the Written Word

Summer in the City


I have never lived somewhere where the temperatures range from 50 to 80 degrees within a matter of 24 hours. Just yesterday I was lugging my jacket out of my backpack and deploying my umbrella as I sat at the bus stop waiting to come home. This morning I headed out again at six a.m to catch the mall shuttle. I wore shorts and sandals because it was really warm in my apartment, and questioned my judgment when I received a chilling blast of wind as I walked down 17th street. But by the time I reached the shuttle stop on Court I was sweating. I blame it on the Denver climate as I am peeling off my layers, but in a reality I’m not about to accept, it could be a hormone thing.


I ran into Carol at the Stout Street Station. I haven’t seen her for more than a year, and if you remember she’s my favorite panhandler.  I first met her when I was scouting apartments in Denver two years ago, and paid her a quarter for directions. She remembered me a year later when I moved here and we met again. She only asks for quarters, and only when she is in desperate need. She has turned me down before when I offered money, smiling and saying “naw, I only do that when I really need it.”


She greeted me today but didn’t ask for change. We chatted for a moment, then she wandered over to other waiting passengers, and I saw her ask them for change. I dug into my change bag and pulled out four quarters. I approached her just as the H line was pulling into the station.

“Are you looking for quarters?” I asked, smiling and leaning in close. She looked surprised, then smiled as she realized I remembered.

“Well, yeah,” she said. I slipped the quarters in her wrinkled, dirty hands.

“I’ve been saving them just for you,” I said. That brought another smile from her.

“Really?” she asked.

“Yup, Carol, just for you.” I winked at her and jumped on the train. I suspect my comments and thoughts meant more to her than the quarters I had given her.



May 19, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I began my day basking in the glow of martyrdom. I had agreed to work today, Mother’s Day for my co-worker, since Jess isn’t here yet and my co-worker has children in town waiting to lavish her with gifts and love. What a great person I was to give up my Sunday for her. As I lay in bed patting myself on the back for my high moral standards and outstanding character, I abruptly realized that the Sunday train schedule was completely different, and if I wanted go make it to work on time I had to be on the 7:46 H line. I bolted out of bed, showered and took way too long deciding which shorts to wear. Notice I said shorts, as in a beautiful day with no snow or rain.

I hurried to McDonalds and got a biscuit and diet coke, which I devoured as I hurried to the Civic Center station. I needed to buy a ticket book of transit passes before catching the mall shuttle. Usually the shuttle runs about every three minutes, but on weekends it runs about every 10 to 15 minutes. So if I missed it I would have to walk the seven blocks to the light rail station. The shuttle was parked at civic center station when I arrived, a good sign because it usually idled there for a while waiting until its next run. I darted inside and raced to the ticket dispenser, only to see the red light flashing, indicating the book I needed was sold out. I noticed a second dispenser, but it had a note taped to it stating it was cash only. Damn. I have been trying very hard to keep a 20 bill stashed in my wallet for emergencies, and hated to use it now but, I guess this was an emergency, so I dug the bill out and bought my book. I left the building just in time to see the mall shuttle pull away.

I began my hasty jaunt down the eerily quiet mall. The transients were nowhere to be seen, and I walked a full block before I happened upon another person. I actually heard her before I saw her. A beautiful voice floated on the wind, singing a song I didn’t know the words to, but it was beautiful. The melody could only be coming from the woman up the block. She was middle aged and quite large around the middle. She stood next to a rolling suitcase, I assumed she was a guest from the Sheraton waiting for the shuttle to go to the airport. As I got closer I noticed she was holding a piece of paper in front of her, reading the lyrics to the song she was singing. Her voice was truly beautiful, and as I passed her I understood some of the words. The lead up was about big corporations, and the chorus went something like “you are just another slave, taught to behave…”

I hiked the seven blocks to the station, where more people were milling about. A few transients searched through the garbage cans, and pigeons followed behind them hoping for dropped crumbs. But I noticed most of the people waiting on the platform were middle aged women like me. Nice hair, makeup and handbags, I could only assume they were headed out to the burbs to see their children, or families,or maybe their own mothers. It felt a bit like relief society, minus the dresses and gossiping.

May 16, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

These boots were made for walkin’

Okay, they’re not actually boots, they’re walking shoes, but that doesn’t lend itself to a catchy title. The point is, the weather is FINALLY nice here in Denver, and I’ve been dying to take my new running shoes out for a stroll. Karma gave them to me, after I realized I might be falling prey to the middle-aged syndrome of fallen arches. There’s a fancier name for it, and several women I know have it, but I have thus far been spared the pain in my feet. Until recently. I have always had one small spot on the heel of my left foot that gets sore after a lot of walking, but not enough that I’ve had to pay attention to the kind of shoes I wear. Not so much anymore. My new shoes are pink and purple, and have very good arch support.

I have been hoarding sample sized toiletries from everyone I know to take down to the homeless shelter. A couple of estate sale guys who donate to the center regularly caught wind of my connection with the homeless, and brought me three large bags of such toiletries, including razors, shampoo, conditioner, toothbrushes and toothpaste. St. Francis Shelter downtown runs a day center, including a shower room, and is always in desperate need of such items. I’ve been storing them in my nifty little faux-burberry rolling bag, and today I actually drug it downstairs, out the door, and the 1.5 miles to the shelter.
I stopped at the VOICE office to drop off a bag of goodies I had gathered for them as well, including neck lanyards and some toiletries. Dragging my fancy little bag through the heart of the homeless was a bit comical, especially as I passed one couple who were balancing two large plastic bags full of belongings on their shoulders. I wanted to shout at them not to judge me, I was taking my pretty little bag full of goodies to St. Francis. But I did not, they didn’t seem to really be judging me anyway.
After depositing my goods at the shelter, I headed to the mall and caught the shuttle bus to Market Street Station, near the bottom of the mall. I walked back up to the top, stopping at all the food kiosks scattered along the mall. I’m writing a blog post for about street vendors, and was in search of the booth that served breakfast sandwiches on donuts. As in, sausage and eggs on a glazed donut. Disappointed I couldn’t find it, (apparently it’s too early in the season) I settled for a breakfast burrito from the gentleman dragging a red cooler down 15th street. It was spicy, delicious, and only $1.50, and it fueled the rest of my journey up the mall.
St. Paul’s cathedral is directly in the path I take to get home, and around 10 o’clock each morning people begin lining up at the front doors for the free lunch that is offered daily. Men line the sidewalk, some sitting on the stone wall, others lounging on the grass between the sidewalk and the street, and still others lean against their modified bicycles. Almost anything can be used to modify the bicycles, including wagons, wheels of any sort, and boards. Boards are nailed together and wheels attached to them, then boxes and bungie cords strapped to the boards to make room for storage of their items. Today there was a bike that had so much attached to it, the stuff was actually twice as long as the bike, and finding the original frame of the bike was difficult. The men all seemed in a good mood like the good weather, and as I walked through the gauntlet of homeless gentlemen, I got plenty of “how you doin’?”, “Hello pretty lady,” and “good morning baby girl’s.” They may be homeless, but they know how to compliment a lady.

May 6, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

An Artist is Born

For some reason, that has not been explained sufficiently to me, some of the children in Colorado are out of school for the week, Ashley and Mitchell being two of them. So they boarded the train with Tim and came downtown, where I was rewarded with some quality family/Tabba time as we wandered the 16th Street Mall. I headed down early to visit the Tattered Cover bookstore and indulge in a little people watching as I lounged on the bench in front of the bookstore and read. I was not disappointed, as all manner of tourists, teens, punks, vagabonds and lovers strolled the mall.
Lunch was the first matter at hand when the clan arrived, and, unable to decide on one mutually satisfying cuisine, we rode the shuttle up the mall to the hot dog/breakfast burrito vendor, where Mitch and I got burritos and Diet Pepsi’s, then hitched the shuttle back down a block to McDonald’s where Tim and Ashley emerged with a Halloween Happy Meal. We walked a block to the plaza, where we enjoyed our fare as we watched people playing Ping-Pong on the plaza.
The conversation was pretty casual—work, teenage drama, or lack of, a little bit of politics. Until Princess Ashley asked the question no one else dared.
“So, uh, Tabba. Who are you going to vote for for president? Obama or Romney?”
Wow, that’s quite the question for a six-year-old. And with such a serious face. I was caught a little off guard, and I think Tim may have been as well. I’m not always the best at being politically correct, but to be politically correct with a six year old required even more thought.
“Well, Ashley, if you could vote, who would you vote for?” Ha, perfect answer. I’m sure my mom would give me kudos for following some form of early childhood development path that involved re-directing.
Ashley thought for a minute, then, in a non-committal kind of way, stated “I think Obama.”
“Why?” Tim and I both couldn’t resist the secret behind her thoughts.
“Oh, he just seems really nice. Nicer than the other one.”
There it was, that simple, he seemed nice in the eyes of a child. Not a lot to argue about politically there. We finished our meals and went to throw our trash away, which is when we discovered the Mall Ambassador. He sat behind a wall of glass, in a small cubicle crowded with books, brochures and stacks of board games. When we inquired about the ping-pong, he informed us that not only could we play ping-pong for free, he also offered up games such as parcheesi, checkers, and chess, which Mitch quickly talked Tim into playing. They sat contemplating each others moves, while the ambassador sent Ashley and I to a table with a full box of new crayons, and each with a picture of the downtown Denver skyline.
We colored for about an hour, casually chatting, Ashley sharing her thoughts about the money museum, autumn and the colors in her picture as we colored. We finished our pictures, and the ambassador said he was impressed with our work—we were the only ones he’d ever seen finish coloring the whole page. He offered to hang our colorings in the window of his shack—I let him hang mine but Ash decided to take hers home. We hit the ping-pong table for some much-needed practice, but only lasted a short while, during which we spent way more time chasing the ball around the plaza than actually volleying it over the net.
Before I knew it the day was gone and it was time for the clan to head back to the burbs. We parted with hugs at the shuttle stop, and I headed up the hill as they headed down the hill. It was indeed a great day, and my picture was officially hanging in the shack for all tourists to see…

October 17, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment