I met Joseph down at the Lutheran "Resale" Shop (they don't like being called a "thrift shop" this morning.
Joseph's a Mexican man, looks like he's in his mid 40's. This morning he was sorting through the thrift shop's limited hardware aisle. He ended up finding a few quarter priced items and headed to checkout.
We ended up exiting the store at the same time. When I looked into the back of his old half ton Toyota pickup truck I first thought it was a load of garbage. Joseph and I exchanged a few words, he with his broken English, me with a little kitchen Spanish.
Turns out Joseph's a handyman. He plies his trade between El Mirage and Sun City, and does a little bit of everything. In the dark of morning he had already repaired a sprinkler system, then had stopped by the thrift shop to see what .25 cent hardware he might find, before he headed out to do some yard work.
Joseph told me the stuff in the back of his truck was all stuff he had either pulled out of the garbage, or picked up at thrift stores in the area. He had a paint sprayer, a rug shampooer, various garden tools, a tool box, and even a little concrete mixer.
We said our goodbyes and got in our vehicles, and drove out. As we came to the light I began thinking about Joseph. I thought that it was a strong possibility that Joseph's here illegally. And a fairly new illegal at that. Guys like Joe, after they've knocked around awhile, usually end up on a rogue contractor's payroll, pulling in $15 bucks an hour under the table, and suppressing the hell out of a citizen's wages in the electrical or construction fields.
That's exactly why I don't like Joe being here. But I can't help admiring his work ethic and chutzpa. Only wish we had more citizens like Joe, willing to work hard and pay their own way. "Joe the immigrant" had swooped up someone else's throwaways and is carving a life for himself here. I wouldn't be surprised if Joe doesn't end up owning his own construction company some day. After all, it has always been the immigrant who built America, and kept her running on all cylinders.
Sadly, with too many of today's "immigrant", they've schooled themselves on America's government gravy train before they even get here, having heard the stories of the "land of milk and honey" from former crossers. I know from my own knowledge that there's a whole network of folks here who, as soon as an illegal hits town, is fixed up with fake ID, gets a pamphlet on how to enroll their babies in WIC, where the nearest food banks are located, how to qualify for government paid housing, how to score food stamp cards and which hospital emergency rooms is the friendliest to illegals.
So, yeah, I admire the hell out of Joe. I just wish that he'd stay home and work that hard to make his own country "the land of milk and honey".