Saturday, March 5, 2011

Once in a lifetime characters - "The man with the beard"


I'll say right away, don't let me take credit for thinking up the ingenious idea of recording interesting characters you meet.  That is Jaime's victory dance.  Check out http://thejaimereports.blogspot.com/ for the Character Wanted Wednesdays.  But I had one too good to pass up.  Note that this isn't gossip!  I love to write, and some of you out there like it too.  One of the biggies of writing is the characters you use.  Looking around you and seeing what the world is producing is one of the first things to do.  Writing and sharing about those people is a great way to process what you see. 

So without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to our lead lime-light for the evening.

Monsieur White Beard. 
For lack of a better name, this is best my brilliant self can come up with. 
Setting: At work in my health food store on a busy Saturday.

He walked into the store with a somewhat stooped, but purposeful swaying gate.  Wearing tall, brown, well-worn boots and sporting a bright red knit beanie hat.  But perhaps the first thing you would notice about this obviously elderly man was his hair.  A frizzed, stark-white beard about chest length covered his face and upper jacket.  For a minute, if you were to study his hoary chin you would discover that what you thought were his fuzzy hood draw strings were actually a pair of long, white dread locks.  A Santa hippie?  Responding to my cheerful ''Hello, how are you today?'' came a husky reply that fit his old, old face.  It was a worn, frog-in-the-throat answer that just made you think of a story-book grandpa.  But unlike many children's books, this grandpa was rather animated.
  ''Absolutely wonderful, and I hope the same for yourself, miss!''
I was at the counter when he came with his purchase.  A three pound bag of organic brewers yeast.
  ''Great stuff, this is! Defiantly feeling better after adding this to the table.'' 
I, agreeing that it was a great health food, evidently prompted him to pull a small book from his back pocket and show me what it was good for.  His manner was so contagious I found myself belly laughing along with his jokes.  He was well versed in poetry, and when he picked up his bag to leave, he shook my hand, and with much sincerity wished good health upon me and my family, promising to come back again and again for the next fifty years.  His mind was a sharp as a whip, and acted like a child promised a trip to the candy store.
''It takes a few things to be healthy,''
 he quipped, bobbing his head earnestly.
'' Eating right and a good attitude.''
Binding his cracked leather wallet with six, dirty rubber bands,  he bid us ado, and left us to wipe the grins off of our faces as hard as we could try.
I meet lots of interesting people at a health food store, as you would imagine, but this is one memorable man.
So as long as Jaime doesn't mind, I'll try and let you know about others I come into contact with.  Keep watching!  And look for your own.  Tell me about them!

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