Vern looks like he is about 20 years old.  I'm not a good judge of age,  but I know he comes in/out of the restaurant where I work a couple times a year.  It is across the street from a hospital and I think the visits at my place are associated with those trips. 

Vern usually comes in with a woman who might be his mother,   but again,  I can only guess.   Vern is disabled.  It might be Cerebral Palsy, but I'm not sure.  That's not exactly true, because sometimes he leaves hospital papers on the table when he leaves.     It's not my business of course,  but I have always been curious about the lives of strangers.   

Vern seems to be an upbeat guy and although it is very hard for him to walk around (he uses a device to move around-  something that looks a little like a walker, a little like a cage).   He laughs a lot and seems oblivious to strangers (like me) who stare at him.  If people in the restaurant say something to each other under their breath the mom gives them a stern look, but I have never heard her lose her temper.   They are both probably used to the whole experience by this point.  Their grace about the whole situation is probably what makes them admirable. 

 Simple people trying to make the best of a bad situation


So, anyway,  Vern is what his mother calls him and when I overheard him this week talking to someone from the hospital (white coat, badge, etc)  he told them yes, his full name was Vernon, but that "No one called him that,  Not really,"   and then he smiled.   A large extended smile, the kind you can't fake.  They shook hands and even someone who didn't know him at all could tell that he is someone who isn't bothered by small things.  

I don't envy Vern but I don't pity him either.   None of us should.




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