Category Archives: pirate ship

Character Study #2: A picture of “Brian”

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I have not seen Joe, the first ‘homeless’ man I studied

last Summer. He had been a frequent visitor to the

computer section of the library with his dog. I had

described him, once the chilly days had arrived and

the seasons had changed.

I still hope that Joe and his little buddy are either

out West or living in a warmer climate.

My second ‘homeless’ person, I have known about for

years. Within the last 7 years of living downtown in

Delaware, Ohio, I have seen him much more often.

The first year I moved into my little one bedroom apt.

I was always heading out to walk or hike, once the

weekend came.

I like to walk to the Delaware Community Market and

on my way, stop to see what wares and produce the

downtown Farmer’s Market holds. (Held on sidewalks

on the eastern side of Sandusky Street on Saturdays.)

Sometimes, I was going to the library or post office.

I was entranced with the novelty of not only being

“ecological” by not using my car, but also by seeing

all the people I had not noticed, while living behind

Buehler’s in the Lexington Glen development in what

is considered the ‘suburbs.’

Brian, I will call this second man. He seems like a

Brian (or a Patrick) since he has reddish hair and

scruffy thin face that sometimes sports a scraggly

red beard. I have looked into his blue or green eyes,

depending on what he wears. I think the time that

Brian was ‘most striking,’ and shocked the heck out

of my youngest daughter was while we were briskly

walking the Mingo Park trail from our apartment,

along the tributary of the Olentangy River.

We saw Brian straddling atop one of the walls of a

dumpster, five or six feet above us, gingerly

examining wine and beer bottles that the fishermen

or teens who may have ‘parked’ by the river to

‘make out’ had discarded.

He was putting the bottles along the rim of the

dumpster. His hair was standing straight on end,

like he had been electrocuted. It was stunningly

bright red in the early morning bright light!

Brian wore raggedy jeans and a brown non-descript

t-shirt on his upper body. He appears to be about

5′ 10″ when he is on the same level as I have been,

in other circumstances.

Brian waved at my blonde daughter and me, like he

recognized us. (Who knows? Maybe he had seen us

travel this walking path on other occasions.)

We actually slowed down to say,

“Good Morning!”

We thought we would have beat all the Saturday

morning walking/running ‘traffic’ at 6 a.m.

Little did we expect that the one who has no

home, must wake up at the ‘crack of dawn,’ too!

Brian repeated the greeting, in a jovial tone, back

to us.

His gallivant nature made us think, as we resumed

our quicker pace, that he was reminiscent of a

pirate! His neck had had a red bandana tied in a

cavalier knot, on the side. His black leather boots

were somewhat like a cowboy, but with a tug of one’s

imagination, could have ‘passed’ as a pirate’s.

We thought his pocked face and grin with a few

teeth missing made him likable. His appearance was

similar to one who had been a ‘mate’ on a pirate

ship on the high seas.

As we turned the curve at Mingo to go along

the river path, we saw him turn a green wine

bottle upwards into the air, catching a small

drop or two. This morning ‘juice’ would hold

him until he walked to the recycling place on

London Road, where he may get a few dollars,

enough to get a meal or at least something to

drink. The wine bottle in the tilted fashion he

had held it, finished my thoughts of a pirate,

as if he were drinking a big swig of rum and

releasing a loud, “Arggh!”

In later Fall, 2013 I saw Brian sitting on a

bench in front of Walgreens, smoking a cigarette.

He wore a khaki colored poncho, his hair a wet

mess. His face looked more ruddy and seemed like

he had contracted a rash. Not to be funny, but

it crossed my mind, “hope Brian didn’t sleep

out in poison ivy as it gets really ‘ripe’ in

the late Indian Summer months. He asked me if

I had a dollar, I looked in my pocket where I

put change and had tucked one dollar in with

the quarters.

I told Brian, “I need my quarters for laundry

so here is my only cash.”

He nodded his head and his raspy voice asked

me a question that stopped me in my tracks.

He was holding out the dollar, as if ready

to pass it back to me.

I had not expected him to really listen,

care or respond except for a ‘thank you.’

But Brian asked me,

“Are you sure you have enough for laundry?

You could go across the street over there

and they have a change machine.”

I smiled and answered, “Oh yes, I would have

not offered it to you if I needed it!”

Brian had longer, more stringy hair, the last

time I spied him at McDonald’s with a hot cup

of coffee and a breakfast sandwich. He was

leaning forward, crouching over the Styrofoam

cup, as if putting his hands over a warm fire.

Either he made it to the recycling or a kind

soul had given him a donation to his ‘pantry.’

He had a much warmer coat than the poncho I had

seen him wearing in the Fall. It was a deep blue

with a red plaid cotton lining, which you could

see since it lined his fake fur edged hood. His

face looked chapped and still had the ‘angry’ red

blotches. These kind of look like they may have

an allergic reaction, but more than likely, are

due to his all weather living quarters.

There is one other ‘homeless’ person, a woman,

who will sometime be my subject to practice a

little of character development. I think observing

details, finding and adding quirks and mannerisms

helps round out a person. I have never taken a

‘writing course,’ although we all write our thoughts

down and analyze life, situations and people.

I hope to see the more buoyant and ‘pirate-like’

Brian again this summer…

on the shores of the Olentangy River.

Cast Away, Matey’s!

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My grandsons, eldest daughter and “son in law” shared their family

day with me, yesterday! It ended up a wonderful time, despite an

overcast sky and torrential rains around 3:15 p.m. We were at the

water park next to the Columbus Zoo, “Zoombezi Bay.”

I was going to be assigned the care of Micah, age 4 but when Skyler

heard that, he asked to tag along. Last year, M. being 3, there was

a nap time included on the lounge chairs by the “baby pool area.”

Skyler was going to miss out on all the giant water rides, slides and

rock n rolling stuff with his Mom and stepdad. Turned out, later, after

the rain stopped and Nana was headed home, he got a chance to

go on two of those wild rides.

Our first part of playtime, was to go to  the big Pirate Ship that has

cannons that shoot water, floating rafts that you can lie on but look

like they are wooden rafts like Huckleberry Finn rode down the good

ole’ Mississippi River. I am able to mention this to Skyler since he has

seen the old time “Huck Finn” movie made in possibly the nineties?

It had the cute blonde boy from the Tim Allen t.v. series, “Home

Improvement.” Now, I think I better look up that date… (1991- 99).

The now grown man is named Jonathan Taylor Thomas.

I asked him, “Skyler, do you remember who Huck Finn was?”

S. answered, “Was he going down the river with a black man named

Jim?”

“Yep, your Mom probably loves that show since you know the details!”

S. looked at me funny, “Nana, I ask to watch that because he has a

lot of fun adventures on that raft!”

M. just laughed, “Push me, Nana, so I go in circles on my raft!”

Soon, getting bored with the beginning part of the fun stuff, we got

off our rafts and headed up onto the pirate ship, crawling up rope

ladders and looking around. Promptly, Micah went back down the

slide and into the water!

We looked down, and all of a sudden a lifeguard was whistling and

pointing at ME! I figured that I was supposed to be with M. at all

times so slid down the slide.

A walking lifeguard, motioned over to me by the one up on the tall

lifeguard chair scolded me!

“Ma’m, you are not allowed on the Pirate Ship!”

Turns out the height limit for the Pirate Ship is 54″! Oops! Nana broke

the posted rules!

We headed over to this building that is out in the water by the Pirate

Ship and got under a huge bucket. From a distance, this looks like

someone’s imaginary vision of a watermill combined with a sawmill.

There are streams of water that come shooting everywhere on this,

I was allowed on the platforms, rope ladders and bridges. I was

also told by Skyler,

“Stand here, Nana!” when a big work whistle blew! It reminded me

of the end of the day for Fred Flinstone and his buddy, Barney.

I heard kids start rushing towatds this area and whoosh! The biggest

bucket ever dumped water all over us!

Micah was safely hiding in a wooden barrel on a platform next to us.]

He knew the “drill!” I could have guessed it, but the first time, said,

“Skyler, you tricked me!!”

When it came to the long and narrow tube slides that zig zagged in

different directions, I asked if Skyler could wrap his legs around M.

and go down with him.  That was fine with the two of them  and I

climbed down the rope ladders to a very nice “island” where a fake

palm tree was. I heard a macaw, looked around and there was a

real macaw, a beautiful azure blue, golden claws and beak. A few

fluffy feathers on his or her chest. The netting around his cage

was made of rope and the little island could be reached if walked

to or swum to.

I just propped my feet on my own little island and imagined a nice

cool Long Island Iced Tea or Strawberry Margarita in my hand.

A shriek broke my solitude and escape from reality, was that one

minute or five that I was peaceful?

I looked all of a sudden up one of the three tubes that the boys

could have been coming down, found Micah who had somehow

wriggled out of Skyler’s grip and was zooming towards me!

I grabbed him up and hugged him, asking, “Are you okay?”

What do you think he said?

You are correct!

“I wanna go again!”

I asked Skyler if there were a height requirement or if Micah

could go alone down the shoots? He said,

“Silly Nana, anyone can go down these slides by themselves,

they are covered so where can they go but down? No one is

going to fall out of them like other rides!”

“You gotta be smarter than the average bear, Boo Boo!”

Yogi would have known that answer and possibly even little

Boo Boo!

I spent almost an hour watching them go up and down the

rope ladders and slide down one of the three choices for

tubes. It was quite relaxing, no problems, and we ended up

heading to the lounge chairs at the agreed upon time for

lunch and met their parents.

Lunch was a smorgasbord for them, consisting of chili cheese

fries, hamburgers, hot dog (for Micah), onion rings and some

lemonade for the boys, and soda pop for the parents. I ate my

crunchy peanut butter and jelly sandwich, my mixed berry

applesauce and my popcorn leftover from my t.v. snacks

popped the previous night.

The afternoon was spent on the “Lazy Kalahoochie River.”

Micah chose to be on an individual floating soft blow up style

raft, I started with Carrie on a double “O” raft and we ended

up snagging another one, where she and I could lie with our

heads on one end, our behinds on the middle and feet over

end. It may have looked like an “8” more than a double “O”

raft, come to think about it. Skyler had his “8” and Mike,

Carrie’s partner, Micah’s Dad, Sky’s stepdad, walked the

river, making sure we didn’t get our heads under waterfalls

and Micah didn’t capsize too often!

We saw a log, above our heads, filled with turtles between 6″

to about 2 feet big all lined up and looking at all of the people

floating by them; not “fazed” a bit by their daily sight!

While floating down the river, I heard that older song, “Day- O,”

sung by Harry Belafonte. Also, they had some calypso music

with Jimmy Buffett thrown it. It is hard not to relax and enjoy

those floating moments. Frees your mind of any or all worries!

Overall, I would say, hope you all can “cast away” and have

a fantastic escape from your “daily grind” sometime this

summer!

I am no longer “blue” about school starting since I played

“hooky” from the good ole’ Advance Auto distribution center

and lazed around on islands and on manmade lazy rivers!