I saw a couple of friends today when I got to work. A few years ago, a nice woman of about sixty brought her adult son with Down Syndrome to our scary Halloween-themed fall fundraiser. When her son, Danny, caught a glimpse of one of the ensemble cast, dressed as a vampire, he got cold feet. His poor mother rolled her eyes and said, "I really wish he wouldn't do this, he wanted to come and I don't want the ticket cost to be wasted." I assured her that I would endeavor to talk her son out of his reluctance, and assured him that, if he were genuinely scared, he could always look for a staff member so he could be whisked out to "safety" quickly. Needless to say, by the end of the night, it took an effort on his mother's part to get him to leave. The two of them have attended the event every year since then, and Danny actually comes twice- once on the opening night, and once on his birthday, in late October. For the latter event, he makes sure he comes to the last show- the "darkest, scariest" time is his preferred time.
Besides being a "horror" aficianado, Danny is also a competitor in the Special Olympics. After my initial hello, I asked him how he had fared in competition. Without missing a beat, he reached into his pocket and pulled out the gold medal that he had one. His mother gave me a quizzical look and said, "I didn't know he was carrying it around." I told Danny, "If you've got it, flaunt it, and you've got it!"
I have to say, the guy has got star quality. Sure, he's got a disability, but he is a a great conversationalist and he has got charisma. In the course of our conversation, he reminded me that he knows an extensive repertoire of traditional Irish music, so I requested Wild Colonial Boy. Without missing a beat, he serenaded me with a version that would make the Clancy Brothers proud. The guy is on the ball.
His mother told me that she was working closer to my workplace and she was looking for a place closer to work. I immediately suggested the Southeast Yonkers/Woodlawn section of the Bronx as a place to look. She's a Bronx gal and her son would be in his glory in a neighborhood where his musical talents would be appreciated.
Having gotten to know mother and son, I have to say that it's heartwarming to see a man who would have been locked away a couple of generations ago living a happy, productive life- a life in which he has achieved splendid goals. I was in a great mood all day at work, and I look forward to seeing them again this coming October.
I deal with the public quite a bit on the job, and there are certain people you become friendly with. Danny and his mom are two of my favorite regulars.
While it's not my favorite trad song, I'm sure that Danny could have belted this one out with gusto: