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We can’t all be geniuses

Now it’s my turn to steal an idea from Ree. She did a post today about some of her experiences with special people, and I got to thinking "hey I’ve got some too". Plus it gives me a chance to prolong the suspense of the ‘great mining disaster’, don’t worry folks it’s coming. But in the meantime here’s a story concerning some very nice people.

My friend Claude, who owned the Australian Restaurant in San Jose, was a cranky old prick but he had a heart of gold. One of the ways he demonstrated this was by holding monthly picnics for the staff of a  sheltered workshop in SJ. Another was to only employed retarded kitchen hands and busboys. But that’s a story for another day, this story is about the picnics.

I used to work at his restaurant too, but I did it it out of friendship – not for pay. Although I did always eat there for nothing.


This is the outside of the restaurant, from now on I’ll just call it Claude’s. He had it for many years and it was on W.Lincoln Ave.


This is the interior, neither of these pictures have anything to do with the story, but there’s nowhere else for them to be, so here they are.


This is Claude loading my truck with food for the picnic (actually it was ET’s truck, but at this particular time I was driving it). This wasn’t one of our usual picnics, I can’t exactly remember what it was for, but it was bigger than normal.


The guy in the purple shirt was the manager of the workshop, he was a really good guy. Oh, an interesting story, he once shot and killed an intruder in his house. He had friends on the Police force who told him that if you ever have an intruder and you shoot at him, shoot to kill, otherwise they will sue you for everything you have. So he did.


And this is what it was all about. A day out and some food that they don’t usually get to eat.


A funny thing that I learned early in the piece, its easy to relate to those with Downs syndrome or some other physical indicators, as they are generally very friendly, but those who look just like anyone you would meet in the street can sometimes be a bit harder to get to know because their problems can manifest in so many different ways and can be psychological rather than genetic.


Here’s a good example, you wouldn’t know anything was amiss (ok, the outfit kinda gives him away, but put him in a good suit and he’d give Omar Sharif a run for his money), but he was mad as a March Hare. But he was a lot of fun too.


18 Responses

  1. He must have had Kneesles when he was a kid. Boy are they ugly. (And the guy who was looking at Ree’s feet probably had Toelio)

  2. I came here to say something really witty but my mom beat me to it. geez, kneasles.

    I am horrible – I see people like that and run the other direction. Probably something deep from my childhood?

  3. OH – as soon as I hit POST, I realized what it was.

    When I was a young child, my mom’s family had a huge family reunion. One of her distant cousins took in a lot of mentally ill. One of the kids they kept tied to a tree with a long rope – Otherwise he would run away. But we called him the “rope-a-dope” We weren’t very nice.

  4. I’m going to have to go look up why are March Hares are mad…of course, if I saw a hare wearing that outfit, I could probably understand better.

  5. So why did you let that guy borrow your shorts? Were you just running about pants-less?

  6. LOL at Melissa.

    Hey WT…thanks so very much for sending felicitations to Janet C. I think it meant a very great deal to her and to me as well. I humbly curtsey before your kindness.

  7. Howdy Willowtree, who knows all *G*. Thanks for the birthday wish. I noticed we have the same occupation. Love the photo’s of you dogs.

  8. I have no idea what Pamela is talking about.

    There need to be more “Claudes” in the world.

    And fewer outfits like your “friend” who apparently likes to vogue. You had your camera for this, but not the 12 foot lizard???

  9. I love this post! And damn, that last guy needs a stylist, but you’re so right on the money about Omar Sharif. Good call!

    I remember in high school, my younger sister Betsy was dating a guy who didn’t really know about my brother, Mike. Betsy was a little nervous about introducing him b/c Mike was a little unpredictable. She voiced her hesitation to her date, and he said, “Aww, don’t worry. ‘Tards are cool!”

    That’s been her favorite line for years: ‘Tards are cool.

  10. Are those speedos that Omar is wearing?

  11. If I were in a room with 100 people. All of them dressed “normally” and without any type of mental or chromozone disorder, the guy in the lovely shorts would pick me as his friend.

    Happens every stinkin time.

  12. btw I like it when that happens.

  13. Note to self, never break into an Australian’s house. At least not without a bulletproof vest.

    Claude sounds like a stand-up guy. The world needs more cranky, old men with hearts of gold 🙂

  14. What a wonderful man…monthly picnics for the hungry ! I like him even though you called him a prick… We had a guy in Boulder just last week shoot and kill an intruder in his house…might make thieves think twice about whose house to enter…I love it that you loaned this guy a pair of your shorts…did you have Omar the Tent Maker design them?

  15. Pamela – KNEESLES…I can’t top that one!! LOL!

  16. LOL, love the outfit. He does look like he’s ready for a good time.

    Hard to top retarded or Downs folks for employees. They are hardworking, and best of all, honest. And they (usually) have wonderful personalities.

  17. Those shorts should be outlawed.

  18. My uncle who lived 6 miles down a dirt road above Sanora was told if you shoot someone on your property that you thought was gonna hurt you, drag him into the house and say he was braking and entering.

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