En route to Alaska in pursuit of the fishing industry, Vendor of the Week John Loper got a flat tire in Seattle. "I was busted, broke and blue. That's a song I'm working on." He found solace in the beauty of the Northwest and the paper that gave him enough to make it through the day.
"It's never let me down, as long as I've applied myself. The wind, rain, cold: sure, you have to deal with the elements, your fingers going numb, but I don't have to worry about hanging out in a jail uniform for doing something stupid because you're not making enough. You get through another day."
Loper has experienced difficult days. "I had some issues with alcohol but I'm getting my life back in order now. I've finally got a roof over my head after being homeless for about three years. I'm coming back."
Support from compassionate people has eased his struggle. "The guy who runs the deli store on this corner, Andy Prakash, has helped me out immensely. He wouldn't take money for sandwiches. He would say, 'Don't worry about it, save your money, get back on your feet.' Sue Superlington with United Way has also helped me out. There are a lot of good folk around here."
In the trees and waters of the northwest Loper finds joy in camping and fishing. "Fishing is what I like to do. Once you get a license, it doesn't cost you a thing to go out and have a good time.... In the past, if I caught fish I would give them away. Being homeless, there was no way to cook it."
Loper is inspired by a "hope and a dream of a nice cabin on a lake in Alaska. A stable life. That would be enough."
Visit Loper at Second Avenue and Cherry Street.