He was one of the happiest looking men I ever saw. I noticed him wheeling himself along Bill Street (President Clinton Boulevard) whistling and speaking to everyone he met—a real delight to behold. As he neared me, I noticed both legs were missing from just above the knee. When he reached me, he suddenly pivoted directly in my path and stopped.
“Hello brother,” he said. “Ain’t it a wonderful day to be alive?”
Then he winked.
Yep, it was C.W., the little Falloonian himself.
“Come over here and sit,” he said. “I got some questions to ask you.”
We moved over to a bench, and he pointed to pin attached to my shirt.
“It’s my Red Cross Donor Pin,” I said.
“What’s it for?”
“It means I am an 11-gallon donor.”
“Blood. I donate blood and platelets that are used when needed in operations or other medical procedures. I started doing it years ago, at my wife's suggestion.”
“Well bless you, brother, and your wife as well. I must have needed a bunch of such stuff once upon a time.” He nodded at his legs.
“C.W., you didn’t really go through that.”
“Never you mind. Now here’s the thing: I see a lot of folks wearing pins. Is that what they all mean?”
“No, different ones mean different things.”
“I see. Well some folks wear these little flag-looking pins. Does that mean they are veterans of the military, like you and me?”
I winced. “Not exactly.”
He looked puzzled.
“What do you mean?” he said.
“In my experience, it almost always means that they never served in the military.”
“Sort of making up for it, huh?”
“Well, answer me another one. I saw this woman wearing the symbol of a cross on her blouse. That’s all about your Jesus, isn’t it?”
“Then tell me why she was wearing a bunch of expensive clothes and jewelry while she was cursing a homeless person who asked her for money.”
“I can’t explain it.”
“Wouldn’t that sort of make your Jesus wince? Or maybe even weep?”
“He’s not my Jesus, but, yes, as he is presented to us in literature, it would.”
“I don’t understand.”
He stopped to greet a group of tourists walking by.
“Bless you folks,” he said as he smiled and waved.
“What do you not understand? I said.”
“I don’t understand all this disconnect in the logic of your species. We’ve been through this before.”
“And I’m sure we’ll go through it again. Many times.”
Out of the mouths of strangers.