Thursday, March 08, 2007



A Knight In Shining Armor?


I was on an errand downtown, in a rough part of town.
I was focussed on my tasks at hand. I only was thinking of completing my errands and not taking in my surroundings. My mind was occupied with my agenda, when my inner world was invaded.
My concentrated brain was distracted by an whistle.
A whistle.
A catcalling whistle.
'HooHoo...' the kind of learing whistle of a construction worker trying to impress his coworkers whistle.
'Come on... I am an old, married mother for goodness sake...' thought I. And with that discounted comment my mind revisited my list.
And then I hear it AGAIN!
'HooHoo.'
Maybe my first look of annoyance did not get the point across.
I am a lone woman on an urban street.
I look to see where this, assaulting, whistle is coming from... I turn and give my nasiest, furrowed, don't think of messing with me, punk, scowl.

Wait a minute!
Nahh, It couldn't be?
The only person on the street is a guy leaning out of a hearse.
A hearse?
'Hoohoo' he whistles again... and adds 'Hot stuff, baaaabbbby!' Raising his eyebrows.

I see my assailant hanging out of the window, a broad smile beaming across his face.

I rolled my eyes for good measure.

And finally my thoughts crash with the influction of his voice... he says 'Pennnnnduuuuullummmmmm...Pendullum, don't you recognize me? 'he laughs.' I saw you blocks away. I had to pull a 'uee' to get to you...You haven't changed a bit!'

Whaaa? I know this guy? He knows my name... And I have not the foggiest who he is... I now have to focus on THE face and not THE hearse... But the hearse is downright distracting gleaming and sparkly just as the man who knows my name.

I approach the polished, back empty, hearse with laughing lunatic in the front who seems to know me quite well and is having great fun with this moment.

Billy Sheans! Pendullum, it's me, Billy Sheans!

I can not believe my eyes. And it shows. I am scanning this man for some semblance of a boy I once knew twenty years ago.

Billy Sheans from high school.
Billy Sheans who spent fifth period spare with me in grade thirteen.
Billy Sheans, the guy that used to play tuba(A&W theme song) at the bus stop to keep me entertained as we waited in the cold, cold, dark, winter nights after band/choir practice.
Billy Sheans.
Billy Sheans who hosted the worst permed Afro I have ever seen on a white man.
Billy Sheans who used to streak his hair.
Billy Sheans that used to wear really tight jeans and have a pic in his back pocket.
Billy Sheans who wanted to be a cop.
Billy Sheans who told the absolute best jokes with his 'Marty Feldmanesk' eyes.
Billy Sheans my olde confident.
Billy Sheans who always had an ear for a problem.
Billy Sheans who always had a song on his whistle.
Billy Sheans who always had a thoughtful word.

Ahh, that Billy Sheans?

'Billy Sheans??? How the heck are you?' still looking at the perfectly polished man before me.

'Geez pendullum, I was afraid you were going to throw something at me!' he says as he gets out of the car.

And with that, I laughed, a bit manically, as he does not know how close he came to getting a snowball between the eyes!

He laughs and throws his arms around me in an olde bear hug saved for the very oldest of friends.

And while he talked I found my ole high schoolbuddy, all grownup in the mourning suit. His hair was slicked back. He looked refined. He looked older;dignified. He had an ease of talking. He took off his gloves and just leaned against the hearse as if it were just an old car, a noble steed.

Billy had always dreamed of becoming a cop. He fell in love with the notion long before he met me in grade nine. He had always wanted to be a hero. Someone you could count on. Someone who would be 'there'. And what better than a cop?

And when he met me and discovered that my father was a Staff Sargent of Detectives he had died and gone to heaven. He would often grill me about my dad. He would always ask 'How 'Sarg' was doing.'
He would talk continually about the prepwork to his becoming a cop. He would list off the requirements. He would work on the things he had control over.

And the physical training he put himself through. He worked out everyday at lunchtime, he jogged and he did weights. He was going to be a cop.

Billy Sheans got his driving license on his sixteen birthday to prove that he would have had a clean driving record for many years before he placed his application.

For good measure he would throw in that he loved a good coffee shop, so the cops would have to want him.

And always with a smirk, he would add while nudging me in the ribs, that he, Billy Sheans, being a man in a uniform, 'a boy in blue' would suit him and the colour of his eyes. He would make a fine looking police officer, he would boast.
'It's all in the uniform, 'he would chide.'Chicks love a man in a uniform!'


Geez, when I think of how he would go on and on about it...It can still make me smile.

And as a teen I was slightly jealous, as he knew his path, he had it all mapped out. He had his dream, unlike me. I was so scattered back then. I would listen to him and be in awe of how he 'knew' himself. I would be in awe of the fact that he had a notion of what he wanted to be when he 'grew up'. A man in uniform. Clean,polished, ready to take on the world.

And now here we are grown up.

To find Billy in a suit, a grey and black mourning suit with white gloves and not a blue uniform, well, it did throw me off course. But then I do not know what judgement could be made of me, as I did not wear a noticable uniform and my life is still ever so chaotic and unmarked.

'Billy, I, I, I,ah? I just can not believe it...What are you doing now?' with a wide grinning smile, ignoring the white elephant in the shape of a hearse.

'I am a funeral director/mortician man...'

Wow... Ahh, what happened to becoming a cop?

Well, they said I was way too short, too thin, blahblah blah... I was never going to get any taller... And well, I gave that up...Just couldn't change the system ya know... I know they have their reasons... And I did try to become a firefighter but the same deal...

But Billy,I mean a funeral director... How did you go on that path? I would never have thought....

Nor would I? Who would have thought William Sheans, Funeral Director...

'William... Now that would throw me for a bigger loop... William?'

Nah... Can't change me, that much...Well, actually they call me, 'Bill' around the office...

'Those who can talk, call you Bill...' came my wicked retort.

'Hahaha...' he said.

You're still Billy to me...

And when I left him, I thought he did have the perfect job for Billy. A job in which he could never really have prepared himself in high school. Bill Sheans picked himself up, after a dream had 'failed', exchanged his blue uniform, for one that I would think could require as much courage and fortitude.

I could see his strength for people as they came to him in times, of unmanagable, grief. I could see him guiding them through and helping plan the end of various people's journeys. I could see him help those who are lost. I could see him being strong and brave everyday dealing with other human's sorrow. I do see him being a hero.

And when I think about it, the uniform he wears presently,it does suit his big, expressive, blue eyes quite magnificently.

I guess he's right.

'Chicks love a man in a uniform.'

71 comments:

Mamma said...

Oh what a wonderful story. Isn't it great to run into the people you actually liked from high school?

Do you plan to keep in touch?

shoparound said...

I love the big white elephant part. Very funny! Isn't it amusing that we can hear a whistle and automatically think it's NOT for us? And there are those that automatically think it IS for them? Billy sounds like a good guy that's found his niche. :)

Ruth Dynamite said...

I just love the way you describe your observations and thoughts. I have a clear picture of Billy (now William) in my mind. Beautiful - as always.

Janet a.k.a. "Wonder Mom" said...

So true...
I love that even with this meeting he's still the 'same' Billy from HS!

chelle said...

Wow ... that is quite the career switch ... Poor guy to have a dream that long only to be shot down by the system ... Very cool he found such a different niche to be a part of!

Sayre said...

Billy sounds like a wonderful person! I wish there were more people like him around.

Terrific story as usual, Pend!

Jeannie said...

There's a feel good story!

heartinsanfrancisco said...

You have such a great way with a story!

I knew a boy in high school who also became a funeral director, but he was BORN to the role. He looked, well, funerial, even when he was young.

He had a crush on me; although he creeped me out, but when he lost his sight for a year, I used to go to his house and read to him. I was so happy when he miraculously got it back because I didn't have to go there anymore.

Undercover Angel said...

What a great story. I love running into people I used to know, except when they were people I didn't like...

strauss said...

Yep I know what you mean about envying the kids who knew what they wanted to in life.
Credits to Billy for choosing another career that helped people in such an important way - it certainly is a role for special people, compassionate people.
I love the way you write about those from your past.
What a wonderful chance meeting.

Andie D. said...

You never know where you're really going to end up, do you? My hub is the only one I know who had a dream and is now living it.

Me, not so much. Still don't know what I want to do.

P.S. My bro-in-law wanted to be a cop too, but didn't get in. Even majored in criminal justice.

He's now a deep sea diver.

Kevin Charnas said...

BILLY SHEANS??? THAT BILLY SHEANS??? Holy cow. I DID Billy Sheans.

So, obviously, dudes like dudes in uniforms too.

Jodi said...

You run into more old friends, I swear! what a great story as always though. I am most impressed that you are so recogonizable after all these years. I don't EVEN look like myself. Which can be nice at times because I can be incognito (spelling ?) but totally recgonize the other person. THAT is fun! But, I am so damn friendly I normally can't stop myslef from saying hello. then my cover is blown...BLAST.

Lady M said...

Lovely to find an old friend! Great story. I was just at a company event where I saw a lot of people from past jobs and roles - it was hard to remember everyone's names, but good to see them.

Stepping Over the Junk said...

This is awesome. My run ins with old friends from highschool has resulted in my wanting to run away. I really feel how you were feeling by how you wrote this. Makes me want to start googling old highschool people. Heh.

(glad you like the tea recommendations!)

carrie said...

Why doesn't that ever happen to me???

Well, I do run into grade school chums, usually when I'm disciplining crabby kids int he supermarket and I look up and recognize (vaguely) a face from long ago. And then I keep on yelling at my kids. Well, not that bad, but close!

Wonderful story and I think you are right, he is a hero.

Carrie

ps. thanks for the comment about the ER, my MIL had a stroke, but is doing MUCH better. A week can really make a huge difference! :)

Lawyer Mama said...

P, you sure know how to tell a story!

Oh, The Joys said...

Pend! What a wonderful story!

Billy Sheens!!

(And you KNOW THAT'S RIGHT about the uniform thing...!!)

Gina said...

Chicks do indeed love a man in a uniform. My husband wears one, and he long ago stopped telling me about the women who would hit on him all the time.

Gina said...

Oh, and am I totally out in left field, or is "Billy Sheen" the same name used in "With a Little Help From My Friends" by the Beatles? Am I losing it?

Kim Ayres said...

How many of us have the lives we expected we'd have when we were in school? I was going to be an astronaut. Or a rock 'n' roll guitar god.

Still, I quite enjoying playing the mandolin at folk sessions on a Wednesday night in a local bar...

Open Grove Claudia said...

How fun! The BMOC still thinks your hot stuff.... Now that's worth celebrating!

Amber said...

Wow, how fantastic is that. I was chuckled at the cat-calls but what a pay-off to have refound your old, dear friend!

Queen of the Mayhem said...

I love this story! It always warms my heart when I see someone from high school that is doing well!

Mr. Mayhem is planning his 20 year HS reunion for this spring!
Wonder if we will see anyone with a great story like this?

hautemama said...

Ohhh too funny. You have such a gift of painting a picture with words.

I always LOVE your stories!!

jen said...

that is a really terrific story. i love it when the universe collides like that. and your telling of it makes it so vivid.

Sandra said...

I love your stories. This was a particularly wonderful one. You slay me with your descriptions.

Marcie said...

Good ol' Billy Sheen. And I think Gina is right, didn't Ringo sing "A Little Help From My Friends"? Coincidence? I think not!

Nikki said...

Excellent story Pend.

Most excellent.

kim said...

The director of our local funeral home is a very funny man. It is a job that we easily dismiss because it makes us uncomfortable, but those who are great at this type of work seem to have a wonderful sense of humor, enormous compassion, and great strenghth like your friend.

Lisa said...

Reading your stories are like eating truffles... I don't get to eat them very often but when I do, I eat them slowly, savoring every nuance. Makes me happy.

That's what your stories do... You don't post every day. But I know that when I see a new post of yours, I do a happy dance because I know its gonna be awesome. ANd then I sit and take my time, savoring every word you've chosen to describe the scene and set the tone.

You are quite a talent!

mamatulip said...

As usual...great story, Pend. :)

Christina_the_wench said...

I can't believe how well you write. I'm so envious.

I firmly believe you have to have a certain, special personality to work around grieving people all the time. Kudos to Billy.

scribbit said...

You had me reading every word. I love people stories, it made me feel I was on the corner listening to your conversation. Sounds like the kind of man you'd want to count as a friend.

Laurie said...

That was a great story. Well written and interesting. I'll be back...

* (asterisk) said...

What a cool post, Pendullum. Really heartwarming. Aww.

Angelina said...

I will not go to a high school reunion, partly because no one knows where I am, but also because I'm kind of scared to run into all those people from the past.

At the same time, that's really cool that you ran into such an old long lost friend.

There are people I wonder about.

But mostly I wonder about a girl who spent three years bullying me.

Shopping Diva said...

Awww! That is soooo good! Please tell me that he knows this exists and that he's read it! You are too cool!

Kristin said...

What I love about the stories which involve your friends, is how well you know them... how you pay attention to the details that make them unique and special to our world... so many people just hustle through everything, including relationships, but you... you, actually take the time and imprint them on your brain.

wayabetty said...

That was a great story once again Pend! I love reading stories such as this from you! You captured all the details as if you have not lost touch with Billy at all. I wish I can remember all the details from my hs but unfortunately I really don't. And that's a shame.

mad muthas said...

gosh! wolfwhistled from a hearse! does it GET any better than that? good for billy!

Lisa said...

Hey woman. I awarded you a THinking Blogger because you are an incredibly gifted story teller.

If you drop me an e-mail at motherofbun@yahoo.com, I can give you a button code...

Mimi said...

I just love your stories!

How sweet that he recognized you after so long and from a distance! Seeing someone yell my name from a hearse would certainly freak me out a bit! LOL! It is sad his dream did not happen but his determination is admirable. And I am glad he found a new path rather than totally going off road which happens to many when their dreams cannot happen.

Virtualsprite said...

That is truly a beautiful story. You are such a wonderful person to have told it.

Catch said...

That was great Pen....you know how I love your stories. Your Billy has found a way to "be there" for people after all hasnt he? And Im sure he is quite good at it. The police force didnt realize what they were losing when they said he was too short. Im happy for Billy...and that you got to see him and talk to him after all those years!

Cheesy said...

Well told! I adore running into friends from the past... doesn't it somehow make you feel like a kid again?

Mom Ma'am Me said...

Boy, do you know how to tell a good story. I feel like if I ran into Billy Sheans on the street I would recognize him just from this post. :-)

Pendullum said...

MAMMA: We will be in touch...

SHOPAROUND: He is and he has!

RUTH DYNAMITE: Thank you!

JANET a.k.a. WONDERMOM: That he is..

CHELLE: So very true!

SAYRE:He is a terrific person... You are right!

JEANNIE:Thanks, itmade me feel good telling it...

HEARTINSANFRAN: ooohhhh... I can not even imagine... How did he lose his sight???

UNDERCOVERANGEL: Here! here!

STRAUSS: He is one of the most compassionate people I have known.

ANDIED: So what does your husband do? Love to read about it!!!
I am like you ...
And Your brother in law.. Wow! There is a blog on how he got to the path of deep sea diver I am certain..

KEVINCHARNAS: Ohhh my God... You 'did' Billy Sheans???? I mean maybe there are two... But what are the chances... In the hearse???

JODI: I imagine you are one of the friendliest people... I know out there in cyberspace...

LADYM: Yes...It is...

STEPPINGOVERJUNK: I do not think any of my hs friends would turn up in google... I know my name does not come up.. And as for the tea, everytime I make myself a cuppa, I think of you...

CARRIE: So glad you MIL is doing better...Thining of you!

LAWYEMAMA: Thank you...

OHTHEJOYS: Ohhhh we know... ; )

GINA: Oh my... But is it a Park Rangeroutfilt like MsOHTHEJOYS is craving? And Billy...It is Billy Shears you are thinking of when it comes to da Beatles... Ringo's wee part...

KIM AYRES: You make me smile...You mandolin God you!

OPENGROVECLAUDIA: Didn't think of it that way!
; )

AMBER; So true!

QUEENOFMAYHEM: Me too! And your husband,He should have a gas at his reunion...

HAUTEMAMA: Thank you so very much...

JEN: Sometimes the stars are just all in alignment and grand things happen!

SANDRA:Thanks Hon!

MARCIE: It's Billy Shears.. Billy Shears who helps his friends... But trustme, we used to mock ole Billy Sheans with that song as he did kinda look like Ringo with permed hair with golden streaks!

NIKKI: Thanks Babe!

KIM: You are so right on the mark!

LISA: You make me blush!

MAMATULIP: Thanks!

CHRISTINA THE WENCH: Ahh shucks... And you are right... I do not think Billy fully understands his talent. And it truly is... It is a very special calling.


SCRIBBIT: You are right.he is a person you can count on, in good times and in bad!

LAURIE: Welcome!

*ASTERICKS: Thanks!

ANGELINA: There are many that I never liked... and atreunions, these are the people who feel like they are my ole best friends... They are te typeofpeople who were never nice... and through time, or bad karma I think they try and do a penance thing by being nice.

SHOPPING DIVA: No one knows of my blog...

KRISTIN: You made me cry...

WAYABETTY:I can remember the details of HS... But cannot remember where I put my house keys!!! It's all relative I suppose!

MADMUTHAS: You are right! It does not get any better than that!!!!

LISA: You shouldn't have!!! You are way tooooooo kind woman!!!

MIMI: Right on all accounts!

VIRTUALSPRITE; Ohhh, thank you!

CATCH: me, too Dahling. Me,too!

Pendullum said...

CHEESY: You are right, you do feel like a kid again when meeting up with an ole chum!

MOM MA'AM ME: That is a great compliment!

Kyla said...

What a great story! You, Pendullum, are a gifted storyteller. I bet you are delightful at parties!

Bigger Hugs said...

((HUGS)) to you Pendullum

Gingers Mom said...

Wonderful post. I just love running into old friends like that. I find it such a treat to find out where they are and what they are doing. It is a relief to know they are happy. He sounds like a wonderful man.

JLee said...

good story, Pen...You know, those morticians make a crapload of money! haha

heartinsanfrancisco said...

How did Gilbert lose his sight? I don't know, or have forgotten. But he did regain it, although he was not expected to.

Maybe it was all that reading I did. :)

ablondeblogger said...

LOL!! As awful as this sounds, the funeral director that handled my FIL's funeral was very young and handsome. It's definitely the whole uniform/suit thing, even if they are driving a herse (though if I were single, I don't think I'd be able to get past that part, lol)

KC said...

Your stories are so full of flavor-bursting in every bite.

Well-told!

Catherine said...

You know, I've become WAY too dependent on my blogfeed updates... You posted this over a week ago and it never showed up in my inbox! Grrrrr.

But onto my TRUE comment... I don't know if it's merely your gift for storytelling or the fact that you are truly surrounded by amazing people, either way I always find myself becoming enamoured with the characters of your life. Well... except for those uppity neighbors of yours. ;)

Rock the Cradle said...

I'm glad your friend found such an admirable life work. There is such gratification in meeting old friends and finding that they've done wonderful things with their lives.

They even look good if a snowball happens to catch them in between the eyes...

Vancouver mermaid/Montreal photographer said...

What a great story! I can't believe he recognized you after all these years. Wow!

Mama Drama Jenny said...

I only run into reprobates from my high school days.

Gotta stop hanging around the county jail.

Caro said...

You write a lovely story.

Marie Millard said...

What a great story. I like your writing, I envisioned it just as it happened. Billy, wow, you made me think of My Billy fom HS ... I heard he drives a semi for Coke-Cola now, lol

Mom Ma'am Me said...

I am here to send you over to my blog today. There's something posted that you might want to read. :-)

Becky said...

Cool story, Pend! You gotta love running into an old friend like that and have all those old feelings of friendship come flooding back.

PS... Thanks for the comment on my blog! Glad you enjoyed the poem!

Billy said...

wow.

urban-urchin said...

Oh honey, this means you haven't aged since High School- lucky you!

You always have a way of finding the best in people and portraying it beautifully.

Pendullum said...

KYLA: Well, thank you... But there are far more entertaining people at parties.

BIGGER HUGS: Thank you and a hug right back at ya!

GINGER'S MOM: It certainly is...And He is a really wonderful friend to reconnect with.

JLEE: So next time he should pay for a coffee!!!

HEARTIN:I bet it was alsoall the praying you did to get out of the 'situation'.

ABLONDEBLOGGER: Yeah, I do not know ifI could get past the hearsehad I not known the Billy before it.

KC: Thank you!

CATHERINE: I am pretty darn lucky... With the exception of the ever constant uppity neighbours!

ROCKIN: I did have a giggle thinkingof the look I must have given him and for him to perservere says a lot about Billy!

VANCOUVER MERMAID:I have people from grade 2 who recognise me on the street.

MAMADRAMAJENNY: Thanks for that comment, I just snorted my coffee...It was not pretty!!!

CARO: Thank you.

MARIE MILLARD: I wonder what your Billy's uniform looks like?

BECKY:it was a pretty poem.

BILLY: Thanks!

URBAN-URCHIN: Thank you so very much, you kinda made me cry...

noelle said...

AHS? "83? I'm pretty sure I recognize that yearbook page! Frightening.

Pendullum said...

No Noelle, HCI but the year is definitely 83...

noelle said...

ok, so I'm laughing AT myself, cuz after i left the comment I wished i could take it back for fear of looking as silly as I am! It dawned on me that the pic is familiar from one of those reunion websites. at least that's where i think i saw it. I have this memory (lack of) thing, probably from enjoying high school just a little too much. anyway, now i'm redfaced. Dang, just when i come out of my comfort zone and leave a comment... oh well.
Plus i was all excited that someone else from my class was now in the funeral industry!
Sincerely, the big Dope. :)

Pendullum said...

Noelle,
Faar from being a big dope...
Am glad that you took notice as it is indeed my yearbook and I blurred the pictures... But it is indeed Billy's page...