Have you ever met a real-life character?It's never wise to judge someone by first appearance, sometimes amazing people hide behind their less than glam exterior personae. I have been guilty of evaluating based on first meeting, but as a friend once told me, "Never judge, otherwise you'll never learn the whole story."
There is nothing wrong with Ms. W's exterior; she looks like your average near eighty spinster who lives frugally and is a summer resident. She would not be considered beautiful, but pleasant -- far from ugly, just like so many of us average people. Mostly, I would guess, people tend to overlook her. Ms. W might prefer that, and I'm not sure why she chose me to befriend, but she extended me an invitation to visit her summer home.
While the exterior of the house she built within the last few years is different (only two windows), the sharply angled roofs juxtapose each other and insure no collection of heavy winter snow will mar their pristine lines. Then she told me she designed the house and has framed the architectural drawings she gave the builder. She finished the interior herself. Once you step inside you see Ms. W's soul. Every wall is lined with artwork, every surface holds a treasure. Surprise! Ms. W is an artist, and outside of her antiques and garage sale finds, she has made everything. The rooms are so full they are cramped with small walkways meandering between areas, but this is no hoarder's home. It is neat and tidy with everything in its place.
While I was visiting, Ms. W told me stories about growing up in this area, and showed me her notebook of thoughts on living. I read the very insightful bon mots. When I asked her about the many candle holders (tall-- 24" and more-- ones she made them from discarded electric brass lamps!) in her bedroom, she told me she lights the candles when she gets up in the morning, makes coffee, and then climbs back into bed to watch the candles while she drinks her coffee. It is her morning meditation ritual.
While up north she spends her time trimming the giant spruce trees she planted many years ago and tending her garden. When I walked her woods, a sense of order and serenity engulfs me. This nature walk she began last summer shows a tremendous amount of work. Ms. W is a true character: opinionated, artistic, thoughtful, and generous, yet you would never guess her depths unless she gave you the opportunity. As I was leaving, she told me her philosophy, "If you want to do it, you can."
Some people you meet are meant to be a character in one of your stories. Someday I'll turn Ms. W into a mentor character in a story.
Take the tour on this topic! And if you enjoyed the posts considering joining the round-robin.
Next on this Round-robin life's characters tour is Lynn Crain.
Billie A. Williams