Oregon Hill is full of all kinds of characters, perhaps none as recognizable as Mad Dog, who died last week. He could often be found on the corner of Idlewood and Laurel, holding a cardboard sign that said simply “MAD DOG NEED BEER.” It’s hard to sort out my feelings about Mad Dog, because he was by turns infuriating and endearing. So adamant that all he needed was a beer, when actually that might be the last thing he needed. But so thankful whenever I was able to give him some food. Just last Monday night he was raving about my pasta at the SynerGeo community dinner, and it made me feel great because it was my first time making that particular dish.
I hear that in recent months, things had really started to turn around for him. The folks at SynerGeo had helped him get his disability benefits in order, so he was receiving a check from the government and could afford to rent a small place from my landlord. Still, his health was failing. Another friend who lives on the block and works in hospice care checked on him frequently, and spread the word when he began to go steeply downhill. I was told that he was surrounded by friends and neighbors when he died.
I’m not going to pretend like we were besties or that I knew him super well or anything, but I can honestly say I’ll miss Mad Dog. He won’t be there when I pass his spot on Idlewood anymore, and I won’t stop to have a little chat with him and mirror his crooked smile on my walk to work in the mornings. And that’s one little thing less to look forward to every day.