This is a very short story, before Thanksgiving, about Patricio’s pants. Patricio lives in a part of the city that is recognized as having a high crime rate. Despite crime in his neighborhood, Patricio is fortunate to have secured an apartment, years ago, in a public housing complex. Due to serious injuries and disabilities, including deafness, neither Patricio nor his wife, are able to work at this time. Patricio is creative in stretching modest savings and public benefits, in a range of ways, to cover weekly expenses for family, including his young child.
Yesterday, in speaking with Patricio before Thanksgiving, when asked, Patricio said that he did not have funds to buy groceries to make a special meal for Thanksgiving. Patricio explained his budget: dollars are allocated to weekly food; medication; rent; utilities; internet service; supplies for his daughter for school; and other activities. Nearly all the time, there are limited funds left in the budget for any discretionary purchases by Patricio and his wife.
Patricio shared with me a ritual: he goes to the store to buy a pair of new pants at the beginning of the month, which he needs; he puts the pants in his closet for nearly four weeks, keeping the tag on, hoping that he might be able to wear them; he then returns the pants to the store later in the month, redeeming his payment of $18.00 dollars, using it for additional food, before receiving public benefits the next month when the cycle begins anew. This choreography of clothing has been performed for the past few years.
There is a quote attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt that says: “it takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.” In Patricio’s case, it takes much energy to wish as well as to plan, and in time Patricio is confident that both his wishes and his plans will be realized. Today, Patricio states, he is grateful for his life, for his loving wife, and for his beautiful child.
At the law center, Patricio has taught us the quality of gratitude.
Our Annual Benefit takes place on Tuesday, December 5th, at the New York Athletic Club. Please support the law center, as you have in past years.
Consider taking a table or purchasing tickets and attending with friends.
We are grateful for your continuing generosity.