Ian Shapira of The Washington Post on Death of Alexandria Mainstay Strikes Chord: Old Town Shrine Honors Well-Liked Homeless Man Who Shared Little of Past:
Jimmy Reed was a fixture in Old Town Alexandria for more than a dozen years, a gentle man with thick, long dreadlocks who spent his days standing silently outside Starbucks and nearby restaurants accepting money and food from passersby.
Since his death last week from an apparent heart attack, people who live and work in the area have been stopping by a makeshift shrine on the sidewalk next to the coffee shop to trade memories about their brief encounters with Reed and theorize about his past.
Its strange how you can see a person on a regular basis and get to view their presence as a normal part of your life, even when you don't know their name or any details about the individual. I don't live in Old Town Alexandria, but I remember Mr. Reed from his days when he used to hang out near my house on the Fairfax County side of Alexandria. He was regular presence at the 7-Eleven on Russell Road as I got my coffee or shopped at the grocery store across the street. It has probably been two years since I last saw the man, until my wife pointed out the story in Monday's Post. If you still have a copy of the September 27 Washington Post, his photo (not in the web version) is on page B3.
Rest in peace, Mr. Reed. I hope the next life is better to you than this one.