Dino – short for Dennis – is the most giving man in the neighborhood.
Sometimes he’ll give you a song:
“Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things…”
Other times it’s a poem:
“I read in the papers about the Freedom Train.
I heard on the radio about the Freedom Train.
I seen folks talkin’ about the Freedom Train.
Lord, I've been a-waitin’ for the Freedom Train!...”
Or he might give you a line from the Bible he carries:
“Do onto others as you would have them do onto you.”
Dino always gives out books because that’s his business.
“Lay a title on me,” he says. “Lay two titles on me or three…”
“Steinbeck’s In Dubious Battle,” you shoot, “and Gideon’s Trumpet by Anthony Lewis.”
“No problem,” he says. “What about Hemingway? I know where I can get a hardcover second edition of The Dangerous Summer.”
Dino has sources. He knows every dealer in the city and gets books off stoops and newspaper boxes and even from the trash.
And he knows what everyone likes.
He digs two books from his bag: Josh Gibson: A Life in the Negro Leagues by William Brashler and Derek Jeter: Pride of the Yankees by Patrick Giles.
“Pay whatever you think,” Dino says.
You give him more than he would have asked for.
But that’s just returning the favor.