Popular Posts

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Man

When I was little there was a man who would come around the neighborhood talking to himself. We called him "Shorty". Not sure why we called him this but when he came around we would laugh at him and often times do things to get him to chase us. Back then no one really used mental health terms to describe erratic behavior. We just referred to them as "crazy".
There is a man around town here who stands on corners doing the same things. He usually wears the same gray coat, has salt and pepper colored hair and many times I see him puffing on a cigarette. You can see people at the four-way intersection, staring out of their car windows at him. I'd love to hear what they are saying; I'd love to know his story too.
I'd never seen this man up close... until today!
We (the kids and Daddy) stopped at a fast-food place on the way home, which happened to be near one of the man's common speaking spots. As we walked in I noticed him sitting outside at one of the tables. But soon after we sat down to eat, he came in.
I always worry about our kids' reactions in situations like this.
He stopped at our table, said hello and asked if he could tell us something.
I wiped my mouth and gave him my attention. We all did.
He briefly shared something about faith and the devil. I finally was able to see "the man" up close. Black man with a scraggly beard, looked to be in his late 50s and missing a lot of teeth.
"That was nice," our little compassionate seven-year-old said, as he walked over to refill his cup at the drink dispensers. I was somewhat relieved.
We continued to eat. I nudged my husband and cut my eyes at our son. I couldn't believe he didn't have anything t say. But I could see the wheels turning in his little head.
Then the man was back.
"You can't give to everybody because you might be giving to the devil," he said. "God Bless ya'll ." He went away again. This time leaving the restaurant- still talking.
We were quiet for a moment then finally our son spoke.
"That man only had ONE tooth in his mouth. Just ONE tooth," he said showing us with his finger.
He was confused by this. And this was all he got from it.

No comments: