Category Archives: pirates

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.