The Haunted Man

OldHouse2by Anniel5/26/16
My trek to elementary school took me past a large tract of dry and weedy land dominated by an old home which had obviously been built to house a large family. At the time I knew it, the building was falling to ruin and all of the children who had to pass it were frightened by the building and its sole inhabitant.

The man who dwelt in the house only ever walked backwards. He was always dressed in faded brown work clothing and a shapeless brown hat. And did I tell you he walked backwards?

Some of the boys on their way to school would occasionally, and almost gently, toss a dirt clod at the man, but even they were spooked by him, so there was no real harm intended. No adult ever spoke of him or tried to explain why he was the way he was. Perhaps they did not know themselves.

Had he been a normal child who laughed and played, and was loved by his family? Were they still living when his strangeness developed? If so, how they must have hated to leave him to the vagaries of this world.

Because he was strange, did anyone ever again touch him? Did anyone speak to him as though he were a real human being? Most of the time we children pretended not to see him.

Lately the man has haunted my dreams. Almost I can reach his hand and feel its dry grayness in mine. I wish I could speak and tell him he is not forgotten. I wish I had known enough then to love him, and to speak.

None of us is forgotten by the Creator God who loves all of His children and commands us to do the same. Even in their strangeness. • (441 views)

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6 Responses to The Haunted Man

  1. Timothy Lane says:

    This reminds me of the strange man who plays a key role in To Kill a Mockingbird (I’ve seen the movie but not read the book). And, a little bit, of August Derleth’s superb horror story, “The Lonesome Place”.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      This reminds me of the strange man who plays a key role in To Kill a Mockingbird

      Boo Radley, who was in my opinion, the real hero of the book. He acted something like the hand of God.

  2. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    One of the main aspects of civilized man (or boys…or girls) is the ability to make distinctions. Running on primal instinct alone is what mobs and Democrats do.

    It’s not wrong to be repulsed by freaks, the mentally ill, etc. But it’s another thing to treat them like less than human. Perhaps I wouldn’t want one of these freaks to pilot my airplane (or use the ladies room instead of the mens room). But we can make such distinctions with magnanimity, compassion, proportionality, and thus wisdom.

    The world is full of The Children of a Lesser God (not to be confused with Mr. Lesser who I’m sure is a fine person and has fine, upstanding children).

    One of the worst moments of my life, and it will certainly be something I will have to answer for, was not not coming to the aid of a slightly retarded fellow who has been (probably inappropriately) inserted into a regular sixth grade classroom. He was a little different, a little slow, but not belligerent. And although I don’t think at the time I was actively cruel to him, I did stand by and say nothing while others were.

    Whether misplaced “compassion” put this child in a place he shouldn’t have been is unclear, but we do know there is a libtard obsession with “mainstreaming” the mentally ill…and then they wonder why there are so many homeless. Many should be in institutions receiving proper and helpful treatment.

    It is deeply embedded in human nature to be repulsed by those who are different. Surely this is some kind of survival instinct. But not all instincts are appropriate at all times. There are times when our revulsion should be overcome and we act with compassion instead of like a Democratic mob. But there are times when we shouldn’t simply define any kind of revulsion as a boundary that needs to be crashed, such as the idiotic desire of the perverts on the Left to allow perverts (or just the confused or the political agitators) into the ladies room. They say it’s up to girls to overcome their discomfort with having naked men in the bathroom. Nonsense, as in “no sense.”

    Again, what makes us human instead of a mob (or a Democrat) is the ability to make subtle, sometimes difficult, but necessary distinctions. Libertarians, for one, are unable to do so. They take a simple rule (such as “non-coercion”) and try to build a whole society out of it. This inability, and really an unwillingness, to make distinctions is the calling card of the mob, not a small-r republican.

    The small-r republican (or authentic, non-kumbaya Christian) will work toward having compassion for the freaks. But at the same time, they understand it may not be “compassionate” to simply ignore the fact that some people are different. You can love a freak despite the differences. But to ignore the differences is what fools do.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      One thing that I suspect you’re approaching, but don’t specifically mention, is that one can understand that just because someone seems to be a freak doesn’t mean that he really is one inside. And even if he is, well, he’s still human (unless he’s an Inner Party Democrat, of course, in which case she’s more likely a demon).

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Yes, indeed. Can’t always judge a book by its cover. And many times you get (as with Obama) an outer package that looks refined but inside lurks the freak (in this case an America-hating Marxist one).

        There’s a Buddhist notion that it is not good to think of yourself either as better as someone or worse than someone — nor should you even think of yourself as the same as someone else.

        Granted, I’ve found that much of this Buddhist philosophy is the stuff of fortune cookies. But if there is a core truth there it is to let other people be other people and to let you be yourself. Don’t look for equality by thinking yourself as the “same” (thus one of the rare Buddhist sayings that isn’t left wing), nor obsess on who is better or worse.

        That said, nor do I think we should resurrect the even dumber fortune cookie wisdom of “celebrating diversity” and just loving differences because they are different. Frankly, some differences (think: Ted Bundy) ought to cause revulsion in us.

        One thing Americans need to learn to do again is to be judgmental. And they need to learn that judgmentalism isn’t what the left wing kooks, freaks, and Kumbaya Christians say it is (where judgment is dismissed as “intolerance” or “hatred”).

        Judgment is a normal and necessary means of discernment. No society or culture can exist without sorting the good from the bad. It’s what we then do after noting the differences that defines us either as Christians/liberal-Westerners or Leftist totalitarian kooks. Unlike the Leftist totalitarian Progressive kooks we don’t have to pretend that differences don’t exist to treat people humanely. We can say, okay, queers exist, and we won’t put them in prison because they are pole-smokers. But neither do we need to give them free access to the ladies room merely because someone declares they are “transgender.” A compassionate society has to measure the “compassion” it gives to the squeaky wheels against the compassion it should have for the rest of us. No one died and made the squeaky wheel king of me, that is.

  3. Anniel says:

    Brad,The house in the thumbnail is like going back 65 years. EXACTLY like the haunted house I remember. Gave me goose-bumps when I saw it. Thank you.

    It’s a shame how we don’t remember to be kind until it’s too late to help. Did I ever get better in my younger years, or do we all need to live a long time before we understand how to behave? Maybe dreams are a necessary reminder of our failures. And apparently experience IS the best teacher.

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