On Pioneer Square in downtown Portland is where I met the pirate. He’s a traveller of some kind with a long black beard and a rag on his head, a strong Moses-like cane that he doesn’t appear to need for walking, a long sheet that he is wearing as a cap, old pinstripe pants and pirate boots. But he is very kind for a pirate. Says he would like to use the phone charger that is underneath the table I am sitting at. So he sits cross from me while he waits for his old busted cell phone to get some power.
The clock’s gone ahead an hour and so I feel thrown off for a second in this cold Sunday morning in Portland, this city in which I’ve just been accepted moments ago. It’s all got me feeling thankful and a proud citizen. I look out onto the square and down the main streets and I think of Flagstaff, Arizona, about a year ago when it was also cold and raining, and hailing! The streets were as quiet there as they are here now in downtown Portland, gentle and kind like the pirate man sitting across from me, thanking me for letting him sit at my table while he charges his phone. Says he’s got a son down in Newport that he’s looking to go and see tonight. For a moment he looks familiar.