March 13, 2014

Let’s Talk: Share your story of the broom man!

From Vanity Insanity               

              The ride home was pretty much the same as the ride to church except that every once in a while Grandpa Mac would stop by Goodrich Dairy and get two chocolate malts for us. That night on our way home, we saw a small black man walking down Blondo Street with an armful of brooms and a white cane. Mac waved at the man. The old man, in a suit and tie, wearing a capped hat, held about five brooms over his shoulder. He moved the cane back and forth as he walked down the sidewalk.

            “That’s Reverend Livingston, Ben,” Grandpa Mac said quietly. “He’s a blind man who sells brooms for a living and preaches God’s word. Makes the brooms, too. The man’s a saint, a quiet little saint weaving around the city.”

            “He’s blind? How does he know if people are paying him the right amount of money?”

            “He just trusts them, I guess. I bought a broom from him when I was working downtown. He was walking around the UP building at lunch time, but I’ve seen him all over Omaha.”




  1. Judy Haney - posted by Mary Kay Leatherman
    March 27, 2014

    Judy Haney wrote this beautiful poem 2009 around Christmas
    Dedicated to
    Rev. Livingston

    Some time ago
    I spoke with the “Broom Man”,
    a kind, soft-spoken black minister
    who walked around the city selling hand-made brooms;
    his white cane sliding silently over his path as he
    listened for traffic.

    In the summer he wore a dark brown suit and tie.
    In the winter it was a lightweight coat
    covering his frail, gentle body.

    When he walked into a room, the air expanded
    with his smile, his calm dignity.
    Through his blindness, he could see
    all of our sorrows, our confident mistakes,
    our isolation, the tricks we play on each other.
    Time he shared was holy-time.
    His soul sense was magical.

    He told me once,
    “Every day is a blessing.”

    May your Holidays be filled with the warmth of
    family & friends.
    May you find every day to be a blessing.

    Judy Haney,2009

  2. Bob Cannon
    March 25, 2014

    My Dad got to know the broom man due to the fact that he use to stop in at Cannon’s Bar & Grill, with all his brooms and have lunch from time-to-time. I actually recall meeting him and listening to his stories. He was a good man!

  3. Angela Kohles Miller
    March 25, 2014

    I remember the Broom Man!!!!! Bless his little heart. Congrats to you Mary Kay!

  4. Robin Boeck
    March 25, 2014

    The Broom Man was always wondering around our Dundee Neighborhood.

  5. Anne D.
    March 25, 2014

    I remember the broom man! In fact, I have one of his brooms in the garage. It came from my dad’s business where he must have stopped by. It is kind of a touchstone for me.