A Friendship Grows

But as we strolled through the Modern that day, I tried to look through his eyes at the bold geometrics, splashed paints, and huge canvases dominated by negative space. I had to admit: some of it could be construed as junk.

The Kimbell was Denver's favorite. Old Master paintings drew him like magnets, especially those that were centuries old and depicted Christ. When we stopped in front of a large Matisse from the 1940s and I told him it cost $12 million, his mouth fell open.

"Well," he said, eyeing the work in dubious wonder, "I don't like it much, but I'm glad the museum bought it so somebody like me could see what a $12 million picture looks like." He paused, then added: "You think if the guards knowed I was homeless they'd let me in here?"

With the museums, the restaurants, and the malls, I was showing Denver a different way to live, a side of life in which people took time to appreciate fine things, where they talked about ideas, where raw yellowtail cost more than cooked catfish. But he remained absolutely convinced that his way of life was no worse than mine, only different, pointing out in the process certain inconsistencies: Why, he wondered, did rich people call it sushi while poor people called it bait?

I knew Denver was sincere when he told me that he would not want to trade places with me for even one day. His convictions became clear to me when I laid my key ring on the table between us at one of our earliest meetings for coffee.

Denver smiled a bit and sidled up to a cautious question. "I know it ain't none of my business, but does you own somethin that each one of them keys fits?"

I glanced at the keys; there were about ten of them. "I suppose," I replied, not really ever having thought about it.

"Are you sure you own them, or does they own you?"

That wisdom stuck to my brain like duct tape. The more I thought about it, the more I became convinced we'd enjoy life a whole lot more if we owned a whole lot less. In some ways, Denver became the professor and I the student as he shared his particular brand of spiritual insight and plain old country wisdom.

I also came to realize that though his thirty years on the streets had sewn a thick hide on the man, they had also forged in him staunch loyalty, a strong spirit, and a deep understanding of what beats in the heart of the downtrodden. Though wallowing in the sin and addictions of street life, he claimed in his solitude to have heard from God. His brain had filed away everything he had seen over the years, and it seemed he had just been waiting for someone willing to listen. I was privileged to be the first to lend an ear.

Learn more about the book on which the movie is based at

Taken from Same Kind of Different As Me Movie Edition by Ron Hall and Denver Moore. Copyright © 2017, 2006 by Ron Hall. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson.