View Full Version : eccentricity and eccentrics

11-19-2016, 07:54 AM
"One of the chief dangers of our time is that so few dare to be eccentric."

Sterling Hayden

Hayden, from what I've read of him, certainly qualified as eccentric!

One of my favorite stories of a local character comes from my childhood. Joe was a year round resident of a place my family spent summer vacations, a small village hard by the shore of a large Michigan lake. Joe was fond of both cats and clocks. I still have one of the mantle clocks he bestowed on my father, who had befriended him. Most of the villagers shunned him, not because of the clocks but because of his odd habit around cats. He loved cats, had oodles, and almost always a new litter of kittens. He would wander the village, both winter and summer, wearing a many-pocketed heavy fur coat, and in each pocket a kitten!

When I was quite young I visited his house with my father a few times; a ramshackle old frame structure, the walls covered with clocks, cats everywhere. Quite the odor, and on the hour quite the sound. When Joe died, his house stood empty for a number of years, and young summer people of the village were sure it was haunted.

I visited that village this past summer. Joe, while out of place so many years ago, would be most unwelcome today. What used to be an interesting mix of middle class folk punctuated by some real money, is now homogenized into relative wealth. Many of the lovely old summer places have been torn down and replaced with McMansions, terribly boring in their consistent poor taste. I saw only one wooden boat, a small Chris mahogany utility named "Bubbles". She belongs to a distant cousin and has been there for as long as I remember. The shore, which used to be heavily wooded, is now almost all transformed into manicured lawns. I'll wager, however, on a moonless night, the wind gusting off the lake, you might just run into a ghostly figure walking the road dressed in a long fur coat, kittens popping their heads out of the pockets.

Jim Bow
11-19-2016, 12:03 PM
Your last paragraph describes the current state of the San Juan Islands.