The other day I had the pleasure of reading a beautiful post titled mister by Lynne over at FreePennyPress. It is an enlightening introduction into humanity, something that most of us try to ignore too often, especially when it’s up close and personal and not so pleasant.
Lynne or “Pretty Lady” as she was dubbed by “Mister” had a unique relationship with a homeless man. She noticed the presence of a broken man and he held the door for her. Nothing too complex to their relationship, just two human beings appreciating the fact that they both exist in this world. Isn’t that really what it’s all about anyway?
Living in a big city and working in the center of it for many years, I’ve had my share of encounters with people who have become broken for one reason or another. No one plans to take a path that brings them lower, sometimes life makes those decisions for us.
As adults we have a much more jaded view of the broken. It’s usually surrounded by judgement, followed by all the answers on how these broken souls can “get a job”, but most of the time we just ignore their existence. It’s just easier to pretend it’s not happening.
Norman is a character to say the least. Everyone knows Norman or as he is often referred …”that guy in the Viking Hat”. Look at that face…Norman is the bomb!
My son was immediately intrigued by Norman and his badass helmet, not to mention the fact that he would also sport a wall clock around his neck like Flavor Flav. Seriously, what little boy wouldn’t be in complete awe of that get-up? That joy soon turned to sadness, when I broke the news that Norman was homeless. This was his first experience with homelessness…up close and personal.
On Christmas Eve he wanted to give Norman money that he collected going door to door singing carols, so off we went. Sadly, Norman was nowhere to be found. We found out later he “goes away” during the cold months. Brilliant idea if you ask me. So, we went to other parts of the City to distribute the money until it was gone. Brokenness through a child’s eyes is so clear.
Later in the Spring as I was sitting out front of the music school, waiting for my daughter to finish her lesson. Up rolls Norman on a bicycle covered in red, white & blue everything. Flags covered the bike and he was wearing a flag pattered bandanna under his Viking helmet. He stopped to talk to me and offered me a swig from his bottle. Lord knows he already had one too many swigs. I kindly declined with an “um, no thanks I don’t drink” and Norman gave me a quick “that’s cool, if your a mother you shouldn’t be drinking” … good advice. Then he proceeded to tell me about a young woman he knew who drank too much and lost her children. His heart just broke for this woman, but he had faith that she would turn herself around. Helpless and helping others…does it get any better?
We chit chatted for a bit before my daughter came out and saw me talking to Norman. The look on her face was priceless! Norman wobbled off into the sunset shouting back “have a happy Mothers Day whenever it is” … will do Norman, will do. My daughter was rolling her eyes as she expressed “Mom! OMG, do you have to talk to everyone? .. yerp I do. Seriously, as if she didn’t already know.
I haven’t seen Norman in a while, but was so happy to find this photo over at http://thirstyfish.com/index.php?p=481 that was taken in January of this year. Looks like Norman is doing well these days sporting his shiny new Viking Helmet. Everyone knows Norman!
The backstory is that Norman was a very successful business man at one time. He was in the entertainment business, which didn’t surprise me in the least. Apparently he went through a very bitter divorce that left him broken, bitter or maybe both. But, I’ll be the first to tell you this man’s spirit was not included in that break. He is a very kind soul with a big heart and an even bigger smile!
Everyone…including the broken, should have the opportunity to…Enjoy the Ride!