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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Pirates of Autumn

Pin It Wood smoke drifted lazily through the late evening air as I navigated the streets home from work. Faint touches of autumn had graced the leaves of various trees along the roadway and—with windows down—the air felt not unlike hiking in the desert. I was reminded of camping in distant canyons and lonely mountains where it was just me and the wind. Only I felt just as fresh and clean on the outside as I did on the inside.

Autumn had finally arrived, and the last signs of summer were left groping for brief interludes of balmy afternoons. Also celebrating the passing of the seasons were mornings of frost-kissed grass in the park behind my house—another telltale reminder that the harvest was finally here, and that winter would soon be on its heels. I could only hope for a long, hawkish autumn with Halloween celebrated before the snow flew.

Halloween...however, that’s a post for another day.

As I drove by Medallion Manor, a home for those with mental or other handicaps, I noticed one particular resident—an older man—standing out in the yard again.

I’d seen him on numerous occasions before, sometimes waving, sometimes standing by the fence. At times I’d observed him helping to sell melons in a makeshift stand out on the sidewalk, or simply sitting on the park bench in front of the building watching the traffic as it passed by.

He always waved, and he always smiled.

On this particular day, he wore a pirate hat.

He grinned at me slyly as I drove by, his arms resting on the low, chain-link fence surrounding the yard. As our eyes made contact, he straightened himself and raised one hand in a wave-like salute.

I saluted back.

Oh, to be a pirate…

20 comments:

Richard & Natalie said...

Arrrr... great story. Thanks for the smile.

SO said...

What a great way to end the day.

Susie-Q said...

Pirate hats are great and perfect for any occasion. We have worn them to the zoo, the hospital, the store, etc. Never not a good time to wear one. :o) Enjoy the Autumn leaves!

Rachel said...

I suppose it is because I have a handicapped child who cracks me up but I get the biggest kick out of the folks there at the Manor. The other day I was driving by and a whole slew of them were out for a stroll. Two were lagging behind and having a great time. They were taking turns smacking each other on the backside and then they'd double over with laughter. Tickled me to death and I told my teenage son who was with me, "I love the handicapped. They are eternally children. Oh to see life as a child".

That is actually one of my goals as of late. To embrace life as a child would. Who cares what it looks like to others. If I feel like putting on a pirates hat and yelling "Hi ya Matey" to all who pass......then so be it and if the landlubbers have a problem....they can just walk the plank.

Teachinfourth said...

Natalie - Every time I would drive by and this man would be outside, he'd do the same for me.

Shanna - Unfortunately, he's not out every single day, on the days he is out there he does make me smile.

Susie - Isn't there something about a costume which makes life better? Perhaps that is why Halloween is so great.

Rachel - I think that that is a great way in which to view life, though a lens which allows us to 'see' events and others as the 'gems' they truly are. So often, I think that we act a certain way because we are afraid of what those around us may be thinking...kudos to you for casting aside the approval of these people and doing what you want.

Wasn't it Dr. Seuss who once said, “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.”

Corine said...

Hi! What a cool story! :D

BTY :)... I know of another pirate!

My husband does professional pirate cruises on Lake Coeur d'Alene to large groups of kids (young and old) if anyone is interested! :D He dresses up, walks like a pirate, talks like a pirate, uses a treasure map as a lake guide, teaches the kids to toss a knotted rope to see how fast they are sailing, and lets the kids help search for buried treasure (which they then get to share amongst each other once found). The kids absolutely love it!

Here's the direct link if anyone is interested
http://www.sailcda.com/pirate_adventures/pirate_adventures.html

...though I really hope no one goes there for a few days, as I just did, and discovered that someone posted very rough drafts all over the site. -yikes Time for the editor to get back to work! :O

Lars said...

This story made me think of one of my former clients whose radiant smile and positive attitude was contagious to all. That is the great thing about working with people with disabilities, for the most part they don't care what others think about them. Quite refreshing. Thanks for sharing.

Rachel said...

Corine! My parents used to take me to Coeur d'Alene on vacation years ago and I still remember how much I loved it. Absolutely beautiful. I want to take my kids on your hubby's pirate adventure. How cool is that?

I can still remember what I ordered for breakfast at the restaurant we went to. French toast smothered in butter, whip cream, and maple syrup. Funny the things you remember.

Teachinfourth said...

Corine - Everybody loves pirates, of course, it really probably has something to do with Johnny Depp. I'll have to check out the website and see what's up (not that I'll be in that area any time soon, but it never hurts to look, right?).

Lars - It's true about these folks, ofttimes they can just bring out the best in you.

Julie said...

I love it when people make me smile! Thanks for sharing.

Mamma has spoken said...

I guess it is safe to say that if you were invited to a ninja vs pirate party guess you would dress up as a pirate ;o)
I've always enjoyed working with people like this. They have a fresh perspective of the world!

novidiac said...

I just learned this year that Sept. 19th was National 'Talk like a Pirate day'...

I can't imagine a more exciting holiday!

mywest said...

I was here...don't really feel like a pirate but could fit in at Medallion Manor some days...

Teachinfourth said...

Jewels - I do, too. Funny, you seem to be one of those people for a lot of people as well.

Bonnie - Perhaps a ninja pirate? Heaven knows that if Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are socially acceptable, just about anything else can be, too.

Nova - Truly? If I'd only known...

Dad - Couldn't we all on some of 'those days?' Looking forward to your visit next month.

PMC said...

Very nice post. To look into someone's eyes...there is light there. Thank you.

summer said...

Yo-ho, yo-ho....I have two little pirates that help break out the smiles very, very often. It's wonderful to catch others in their moment, and in turn see the simple joys in life.

Teachinfourth said...

Misty - Indeed it is.

Summer - I've seen your little pirates before, and I know just what it is you're talking about. Thanks for stopping by.

jayniemoon said...

I love that man.

Farscaper said...

That place does jazz up the ride home. I had a girl decide to take a walk right down the middle of the road. She waved BIG to everyone who passed and had a huge smile on her face.

I love the qwerks of the kids in my son's class. There's the "pick pocket", "shy cuddles", "enforcer", "speechless" etc... I can honestly say that each day is an adventure!

We wanted to hit the new pirate pizza place on Talk like a Pirate Day. Would have been very appropriate.

Gerb said...

I just love this. The residents there bring a smile to my face often and it is always welcomed.

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