Monday, April 14, 2014

What size???

Den of the Beastly Bear

Hi Folks!

I know, I know...I've been hibernating the last couple days, sorry about that.

On the plus side, after a couple day break and a lovely Saturday attending my nephew Daniel's Christening (which included family from NYC, California, and Florida!) I feel rejuvenated!!!

Hard to believe, but this is actually my 100th. post...
If I was a TV show I'd be eligible for syndication! Lol

In my after school job at the sporting goods store, I've told you about some interesting characters that wandered over from the psychiatric hospital...

But one of the weirdest, was never a resident there as far as I know.

We called him "The Druid".

He was about 6'8" tall, a soft spoken dreadlocked black man. He wore a pair of black horn rimmed glasses missing the right lens. The left had carefully applied black electrical tape, forming a rectangle so if you closed one eye you viewed the world as though through a TV screen. He sported a goatee that extended perhaps 6" past his chin, and there were just the first hints of grey in the dreadlocks.
He wore leather gloves with the fingers cut off, and brown leather cuffs laced partially up his forearms.
He carried a twisted wooden staff, almost as tall as he was, adorned with strips of leather, beads and a few feathers. 
A dark green, hooded floor length cape that looked as though it were made from a bedspread, hood up...always.
A black T-shirt, light blue scrub pants and silver buckled biker boots completed the ensemble.
Never dirty, never smelled, he wasn't homeless...he lived somewhere near. 

We only saw him during the summer months, he wandered the mall near us...but you might see him walking the roads anywhere within 10 miles!!!

One day, it may have been late May or early June as it was sunny and warm...but not yet the full heat of summer when "The Druid" walked in our store.

It was early in the day, before noon...and he wandered over to the shoe dept.

Nobody wanted to wait on him, so I said I would.

"Good morning sir, welcome to Gell's Sporting can I help you today?"

He was standing before the tennis shoes (sneakers to those of you in other parts of the country), and slowly turned to face me...he did everything slowly and with great deliberation.

"This shoe..." He touched one with his staff "who makes this shoe?"

"That would be a Converse All-Star, High-Top"

"What is the largest size this shoe is available in?"

"I believe we have them as big as size 16, let me check..."

I did, and when I came back I told him we did in fact have them that large. In red and in black.

"I'd like to see the red please..." He said.

I brought them out, pointed to the chairs and said:
"Would you like to try them on?"

"Oh, they are not for me...they are for Eustus, my cat!"

"I beg your pardon? Did you say they are for your cat?"

"Why yes, does that seem strange to you?!?" He asked with a tilt of his head.

"Well....yes sir it does."

He looked at me with such intensity, I thought to lighten the mood...

"He must have very large feet, your cat..."

A low rumbling chuckle started deep in his chest, and he broke into a grin showing perfect white teeth.

"You're funny, I like you...but they are not for his feet!
They are for his ride."

"I'm sorry sir, I don't understand..."

With his staff he gestured towards the counter:
"Come..." Was all he said.

When we got to the counter, I walked behind and set the box of shoes on top.

"Open them please...that I may see" He said with a slight nod of his head indicating the box.

As I removed one of the shoes, he smiled again.

"Yes...those will do nicely. I don't supposed I may purchase just one?"

"No sir, they are sold as a pair."

" matter...Eustus will like them, won't you Eustus?"

I had not noticed earlier, but he had one arm under his cape hidden from view. When he brought it out, along with his cat...I saw one of the strangest things I've ever seen.
He produced a black converse high-top tennis shoe, about a size 11 if I had to guess, and inside the shoe was his cat!

Now when I say his cat was inside the shoe, I mean INSIDE! It's body was in the shoe, which was laced up mind you, all the way to the top with only the cat's(well "kitten's" really) head and neck exposed.
The shoe was laced up all the way to the cats chin, with no way for it to escape.

"You see? Eustus is getting much to large for his ride."

As if to punctuate the fact, Eustus said "Meow!"

"Oh my God," I said, "you can't keep your cat in a shoe!"

"It's only for our "travels", so he doesn't run off on me and get hurt. It keeps him "safe"! At home he is like any normal cat. He likes it...."

As he spoke he had opened the new shoe, pulled the paper from the toe, and pulled the tongue all the way out. He then unlaced the shoe Eustus was currently occupying.

The little orange tabby unfolded himself from the shoe, stretched, walked across the to the new shoe, and crawled inside!!!

"You see? He likes his new ride..." He handed me the money to pay for them, and cradling his staff in the crook of one arm began lacing the new shoe up.

As he finished lacing the shoe under the cats chin, it began to purr, quite loudly!!!

"So happy...he was getting much too large for his old one, it was getting to be a tight fit."

I gave him his change, which disappeared within the folds of his cloak... he scooped up his shoe/cat and got ready to leave. Cradling the shoe like holding a baby.

"Would you be so good as to throw his old ride away for me?"

"Ummm, sure..." I said "what about your other shoe?"

"I have no need of it...perhaps you can find a use for it...Good Day!"

"Meow" said Eustus

And with a smile and a wave they were gone...

A bit stunned, I turned to my fellow employees and said "Did you guys see that?!? I wasn't imagining that right?!?"

Here's hoping you all have "safe" travels, today and everyday!

Be Well!

Beastly Bear


  1. What an awesome tale. The kitties ride sounds perfect. He really should have taken both because kitty might wear out the one he took.

    1. I figured that cat would head for the hills when released from his "ride", not crawl into the new one!!! Lol

  2. Wow that's a really neat encounter with an eccentric person. Wonder whatever happened to The Druid?

    1. I saw him for years's been over thirty years now since that day, and he was in his late forties or early fifties then. I would have liked to really know his story, but in buying Eustus his new ride was the most I ever heard him speak!

  3. That is bizarre! Too bad you didn't get a picture of him and his cat in the shoe. That would have been something. Loved reading this. You have a gift for story telling that kept me captivated till the very end. Did you ever see him and his cat again after that? Awesome story. ♥

    1. If only cameras were as accessible then! While I doubt he'd have let me take his picture, but he was very proud of Eustus!!! I did see him several times in the store and at the mall after that, would wave or say "Hello"...usually would just get a smile and a nod in return. A very quiet, gentle man from what I observed. One day he had a different cat, black with a shock of white on his forehead. I had to ask "Where's Eustus?" With a bowed head he replied "Gone.....feline leukemia... this is Gus."

  4. Wow, that's crazy. What a great story.. I wonder what happened to him..