Friday, April 2, 2010

True Treasures

I'm walking the dogs on Jekyll Island State Park in Georgia when I see a man on a powder blue bike and hear him hollering "Bla---ackie. Bla---ackie."

He sits up quite straight on that bike and I notice he wobbles a bit, like he's unsure of his balance. Years ago, I would have called him an old man. I'm wiser now, so I consider him a savvy man, a sage.

When he glances our way, I swear I see a glint from his eyes. And he grins as he swerves to cross our path. Before he even speaks, I know I'm going to like this guy.

"You have such beautiful dogs," he says quite theatrically, with a smile in his voice matching that glint in his eye. He's a delightfully impish looking man, with a shock of white hair standing on end, crowning his head.

That crown is a good three inches high.

He leans back on his bike and lays his arms across his chest. "I'm out looking for my cat," he lowers his head, shakes it a bit, and his face turns all sad. Then he flips his face skyward and his sparkle returns. "But your dogs, YOUR DOGS!  (Joshua and Jacob, both Standard Poodles)." He unfolds his arms and claps his hand together high in the air, just once, and again uses his whole face to smile. That ready smile prompts mine.

His name is Ron Keno. We chat endlessly about nothing, and everything. It's the kind of chatter snowbirds (extroverted snowbirds, that is) enjoy: We compare our lives. And, we discover, we have loads in common:
 He lives in Upstate New York, just like I do.
 He loves animals and traveling, just like I do.
 And, then, he asks, "Do you like antiques?" Well, yes, but not to buy, I say. I like knowing about antiques, though.
         He adds a tilted head to that grin and glint. Then, he winks: "Ever watch 'Antiques Roadshow'?" 

"I LOVE Antiques Roadshow." Was that me chortling? I guess I'm getting carried away with my high-energy new friend, this eubullient, engaging, savvy sage (he later tells me he's 80).

"The Keno twins," he winks again. "They're my boys!" Impossibly, his infectious smile widens, stretching U-shaped, ear to ear. 

He' proud of his sons Leigh Keno and Leslie Keno, appraisers on the PBS series. And when I ask, he acquiesces how he's partly responsible for their love of antiques, which populate his life like books do mine.

He even met his long-time girlfriend Dot (he calls her Dor-o-thy) at a yard sale -- hers.  And together they prowl thrift stores and yard sales looking for that hidden treasure.

So we -- Dot and I -- make plans to hunt for those treasures together, tomorrow, off island, in Brunswick, Ga. What fun. I think I'm grinning. And there might even be a glint in my eye.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

hes my grandpa! haha just thought u should know ;)