The Bell Ringer

He calls himself the Bell Ringer.

We see him about once a week at Greenlake or in Ravenna Park, whizzing by on his festively-adorned bicycle shouting happy salutations and playing his kazoo. Today he was standing next to his bike, kazoo-ing, so we stopped to chat.

The first thing he said to Xavier was: "You know that you are a prince?" And turning to Georgia: "And you are a princess!"

I couldn't place his accent and he told me he was French-Canadian. In the first few minutes of our conversation, he said, "You know I've been visited by an alien. An angel. You know what he told me? Be nice. So that's what I do. I worry people think I'm crazy, but I just want to be happy. When the angel merged into me, you know what I said? I said 'Oh my God, oh my God.' Then he took me up to heaven and you know what I said? I said, 'I'm home.' We've all been dead before. It changed my life. I wasn't spiritual before, but now I am."

Then he pulled out a well-worn marionette and danced him about for my children. And tooted his kazoo as we waved goodbye.

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