This is our sixth winter in this house. We live in a very residential neighborhood with lots of kids around. In all the time we've been here, there has been a fairly regular stream of children wanting to rake our leaves and shovel our snow for some spending money--gotta afford those flamin' hots somehow.
This morning, just as I was getting set to bundle up to go shovel, the doorbell rang and I figured it was kids again, and I'd give them five bucks to do the front walk.
It was not kids at all, but a man, probably early 40s. Never before have the grown-ups been doing these little chores for money in this neighborhood, at least not that I've seen.
I know that data is not the plural of anecdote--and I didn't feel right about grilling the guy for his story and why he needed my ten bucks more than he needed a Saturday morning with his family--but this just kind of confirms on a personal level what we're hearing at the national level. Ten percent of mortgages are in foreclosure or behind on their payments. Almost 13% of Americans are un- or under-employed. We're in recession for real. And now it's showing up on my front porch.