Another Best Lead of the Month
'In the last days before his gentle eviction, Danny Ray Pickrel roller-bladed down the Detroit Avenue sidewalk, picking up litter and stuffing it into a scavenged plastic bag. A sinewy man of 50 years who could pass for 35, he'd raise one foot in the air, pointing it out front, then deep-knee bend on the other to reach down and pick up a beer can or a fast-food bag, all the while rolling along. It was a beautiful day, and in tweedy woolen pants cuffed up like knickers, and a jacket that didn't quite match, he was smiling.'
Actually, this entire lovely, revealing piece about a "beloved vagabond," written by my friend Michael Gill in this week's Cleveland Free Times, qualifies for such recognition. With this piece, Michael proves once more why he's become one of a handful of the region's ablest, most important chroniclers. He routinely comes to all his subjects with the kind of open eyes, open ears and open heart that simply can't be taught in journalism school.