The Frequent Sitter

At the edge of our new neighborhood, on the route we use to wind our way toward the church building, I have noticed a Frequent Sitter. By my (obviously made-up) definition, a Frequent Sitter is someone who sits in the same place every day, watching the world go by.

The past few days I haven't seen him sitting there, and I'm a little worried about him. He's an elderly man, who usually sits on the edge of his driveway in front of the garage door - in one of those lawn chairs with woven plastic strips, cane resting propped up against his knees. Until these past few days, he's been pretty consistent with his sittage, and I've taken to waving at him every time I go by.

We had a elderly Frequent Sitter in our old neighborhood in Morgantown, too. He live about a mile away, at the end of the road we took to get into town. I first noticed him not long after we moved in. His house was right on the road, and with the curtains open, you could see right into the big plate glass window in the front. During the first months, he was sitting up in a hospital bed in the front room. Then he moved to a wheelchair, and many days he would be sitting on the front porch in his wheelchair, watching the traffic go past. I would wave at him, too, and he would always wave back.

I felt like having a waving buddy made me a little more of the neighborhood - like we knew each other, in a waving kind of way. We each belonged in our place - he on his porch or by the front window, and I in my car heading off to do this or that with the boys in the back. It was - and is - a good part of adapting to a place - developing a waving buddy.

The Morgantown Frequent sitter eventually finished his convalescence in his wheelchair, and began puttering slowly around the house. Someone came and helped him enlarge his porch, giving him more room to sit comfortably. He would sometimes be in the yard, but mainly would be on the porch during the day, and in the recliner at night.

Later I got to know the people that lived next to him through the local school, and they told me that his wife had died about the time that he was sick, but that he was doing better, and people were taking care of him.

Once I saw him out in town. It was at a baseball game for Jericho. He was the father of the head coach of the opposing team. During this particular game, the very young umpire made the mistake of telling our team that the runner from the opposing team didn't touch first base as he rounded it. Obviously, this is a breech in good umpire etiquette, and the opposing coach and his entire coaching team became very unhappy about this. Voices were raised, rash and unfounded words were exclaimed, the opposing coach was ejected and refused to leave. It all built to a dramatic climax with the head coach shaking a bat in the umpire's face while shouting at him (later he would explain that he was just shaking his finger at the umpire while he happened to have a bat in his hand.) Our coach (Jeff) took umbrage at this obvious finger-shaking threat, and approached the scene to encourage the raging coach to step away from the umpire. In doing this, he put his hand on Angry Coach's arm to pull him back. At this turn in events, the senior coach (angry father of Angry Coach) threw himself at Jeff - swinging punches and shouting something about how he couldn't be treated like this, he was in the war. He would not stand for it. He had to be pulled off of Jeff, and was subsequently restrained by someone in the crowd. If he had not, he surely would have punched him.

I didn't realize until a few weeks later that this was indeed our very own Frequent Sitter. But the next time I saw him sitting meekly on his porch, I knew (and later looked up his name in the phone book to verify this).

Which goes to show you that you just never know.

But I think I'll keep waving at our Fresno Frequent Sitter anyway. Because... you just never know.

 picture by MR MARK BEK (Creative Commons License: Attribution, Non-Commercial) Open on Flickr

Bob  – (17 September 2009 at 12:11)  

Wow. Yes, I remember your Morgantown Frequent Sitter - and his son, the Frequent Yeller (or Frequent Phoner, after he was ejected and resorted to phoning in his instructions to the assistant coach).

How interesting.

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