Near Keokuk Street I heard a rooster crow.  Twice.

I was on my run yesterday morning in St Louis.  A quiet Sunday morning in south St Louis, a mile west of the Anheuser Busch brewery.  The sky is lighting up in the east.  I couldn’t tell if the faintly sour air was the brewery or the dumpsters along Iowa Street.

Laclede Park.  Then, where Iowa dead-ends, west on Chariton.  Turn around, back up Iowa.

A block ahead I see a dog in the middle of the street, standing still, looking my way.  Pit bull.  It has staked that block.  I slow to a jog and turn around.  I’m now on California.  Just ahead two dogs together crossing a vacant lot near Cherokee.  I keep my head down and slow to a nonchalant pace.  Several blocks later three cats sit in the remains of a house’s entry, indifferent to a runner in the street.  Near Arsenal, a grizzled tom cat on the sidewalk meanaces me.

Animals with attitudes.

Here are animal photos taken over the weekend at Temple Houses.

John says this hen runs out to greet him, follows him, always curious about what John is doing.  It was curious about me.

Temple Houses have a chicken coop in the back.  They built it earlier this fall and waited for the seven hens to start producing eggs.  Finally two weeks ago, an egg.  Saturday morning I checked a laying box.  A beautiful brown egg.

Young people and senior citizens from Temple Corps programs cross Arsenal to see the chickens, touch and hold them.  The gardens are also an attraction.  Lately the seniors have collected fresh salads to take home.  John pointed out the kale.  Just clip some, nice and fresh.

Saturday night Gail and I had pizza with Steve and Ketsia Diaz (Kyle, too) and the young adults in Temple Houses along Arsenal and California Streets.  Several are City Vision College interns.  Others are involved in the neighborhood as Salvation Army staff, volunteers.  All are part of this growing and developing community living as a witness in the Benton Park neighborhood.

Check out Temple Houses website for photos of Mike, Michael, Darnell and Natalie, some of their current residents.

Steve and Ketsia frequently host these Saturday evening get-togethers for Temple Houses.  After the meal Steve introduced us to those who were new.  He and John gave information on recent incidents and news in the neighborhood.  What to do when trouble is seen (call Steve, John or 911).  How to help young people attending the corps whose father was shot to death.  A time of prayer.

After the meeting sitting in the kitchen, visiting.  I watched Lou and Beckham wrestle.   They are owned respectively by the Diaz’ and Laura Grainger.  Along with John’s Boone they form an impressive set of dogs, not an unhelpful resource for living in Benton Park.

Here’s the egg layer.

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