One of our guys out here is the quintessential loner. A gunslinger without a gun. A hermit but with friends. Jimmy Stewart-like (Clint Eastwood without the seething anger). Healthy, nice, gregarious in his own quiet, tall-drink-of-water kind of way, he maintains a mostly peripheral role in the community. Not in. Not out. Sometimes you see him. Most times you don’t. And he is a bachelor. If there is a gathering of more than three people, D is not usually there.
Which is fine. I am getting a bit more that way myself.
Sometimes I am not so sure if the ‘separation’ is because of a desire to be alone and independent or whether it is because most people are ‘so bloody irritating’ and his tolerance for fools is so low that it is simply an expression of self and/or public safety. He can be, at times, somewhat quick to rile.
Having said that, his rile-response is always just to leave and stay away again for a few weeks. Jimmy Stewart-ish.
But some things draw him in. He likes young people. He likes people from other countries.
These past two years he has volunteered to take the students for an outing. He comes by, picks up the kids and says ‘goodbye’ to us from the boat. That is about the only time we play a part in this – waving goodbye from the beach. We don’t even know the schedule or the duration of the activity he has planned. Always a smidge unsettling for the teacher. But not me. I take a nap.
This year they went beach exploring, visiting other locals and he even threw in a bit of fishing (successfully!). Plus they got to drive his boat! The kids were thrilled. They talked about him most of that night.
Of course it not so remarkable………kids, adults, strangers, cultures……all very interesting for both parties. But the part for me that is so special is that a real hint of friendship develops in that short time. It probably won’t go anywhere. How can it? But it doesn’t have to. They may forget him but, for sure, it will take a long, long time for that to happen. He made a difference to them.
He also made a difference to us – I needed the nap!
The kids left today. Headed south by way of a small shuttle bus (Island Link). They will meet another friend in Victoria and tour around for awhile soaking up urban Canada. But already they are thinking, ‘seen one city, seen ’em all’. They would rather stay. They like the dogs. They like the whales. And, for some strange reason, they like building tables. Go figure.
But we can’t host them anymore. No more energy. They were excellent guests and a lot of fun but, I guess, I am just getting old. It is tiring. And, after a week, it is almost as exhausting as it is fun. Poor ol’ Sal……………she does the most and is almost ‘out on her feet’.
We’ll bounce back in a few days. We always do. And we have so much to do in the summer we have to bounce back! This is the busy season, after all. Time to get things built, fix the things we break and take in the somewhat regular influx of guests that choose the summer to visit.
It’s like Grand Central……………..