One clear, chilly night I was attending a party … outdoors, in the country, upstate New York. Actors, artists and writers were mingling amiably around a small fire. I started chatting with a real ‘live hobo’. ‘Bill’ was living in the forest … even had a tepee. Stories he told were fascinating and revealed a very pure, vibrant spirit … a very honest, spontaneous person without pretensions or artifice. His primary topics revolved around artists he had met. One lady, also a forest dweller, would hunt for discarded pens, chalk and crayons. She drew pictures of her natural surroundings on boards, logs, found objects, whatever. With a twinkle in his eye, ‘Bill’ reached into his duffel bag and extracted a small misshapen mushroom adhering to a branch. A delightful scene of a deer ‘watering’ at a small stream provoked my enthusiastic praise. ‘Bill’ displayed several more ‘works of art’ he had cherished for years … by the same artist. We passed them around. In the glow of burning embers many pairs of eyes widened with appreciation. ‘Bill’ proceeded to ‘embrace’ everyone at the party … sharing memories and affection. A more loving soul would be difficult to find. This ‘wild’ man will remain in my heart forever.
Oh … I neglected to mention: The party was held behind a prominent physician’s house … less you have concluded that this was a gathering of rustics and rubes. And … a little live drama: The lady whom ‘Bill’ had not seen in TEN years appeared. Very unassuming, dressed in a colorful frock, she smiled indulgently listening to ‘Bill’s’ recollections of their past ‘rummagings’ and ‘finds’ for her art. Many eyes glistened sharing this tender reunion of two ‘simple’ hearts.
amazing how we can care for strangers