Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A Local Icon

For years I saw him riding around town on his bike always seeming to keep to himself. I would wave as I would pass by and normally he would smile and raise his hand from his bike handle in greeting. In these moments after passing him I would always wonder what his story was. But the thought would be fleeting and once out of sight also out of mind so to speak. Even as young girl I remember seeing him around town on his bike, the only thing changing was the objects he carried in his home made baskets.

Last year I saw in the paper that he had passed away. I read the article about him and wished that those times I had seen him at the library I would have stopped and talked to him. I never knew much about him just that he was referred to as the Bird Man. A title I never quite understood till this past Sunday.

As we climbed out of the small shuttle bus and walked down the path to his house a flyer was handed to me, “Welcome to the Opening of _______'s Home & Art Gallery.” From the outside the home was interesting and come to find out he had built it all himself. The architecture was astounding: the well-rounded curves, the well thought out layout of it all. He was a wonderful artist as well, paintings covering the walls of the home and books spread out also containing pages upon pages of his artwork. Within the books were also drawings of inventions or ideas he had. Some of the drawings he actually tried to design - one of the more interesting of these was a handmade gun.

As we walked further into his home I discovered where his nickname the Bird Man had originated. One of his many inventions was a device he hoped would one day allow him to fly - a strange looking contraption that would be worn on ones head. I carefully examined it amazed at the craftsmanship and time he had obviously put into it. Under it was an article from the 70’s that had run in the paper. Within the article _____ had said he may never be able to fly but that didn’t mean he wouldn’t try. In away this made me admire him. I’m sure people ridiculed him for thinking he may be able to do the impossible, but that didn’t stop him from trying.

The house was very interesting to say the least. It was obvious by the eccentricity of the house that _____ was an artist with many ideas that he expressed throughout.

______was a local icon. I’m sure many, like myself, remember seeing him riding around town on his bike with his homemade shoes strapped upon his feet. Even though he may no longer be with us his memory will forever linger on the streets of my small town.

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