Once upon a time when I was but a wee lass, about 12 years old to be exact, I met a man named "Frances". He was a friend of my Granny's and all the rest of the extended family's.
Frances was just as smart as everyone else, but he had cerebral palsy and this caused him to make this butt-puckeringly frightful sound when he was happy. The sound was sort of like whales mating, but much more powerful and aggressive sounding. He also had this run-away arm that just did it's own thing behind him when he walked.
For a guy with a handicap, he could cover some ground in a hurry. So the first time I ever met him, I had not been warned at all, (thanks family) and I was outside when this strange man came loping towards me with his arm swinging all crazy-like behind him, emitting the scariest sound I had ever heard, from the biggest and most maniacal looking grin, EVER.
I ran. (like a scalded ape, as my ex husband would say.) I ran away and to my horror, Frances ran after me, shreiking his greeting. I wonder if he was having fun scaring me or just wanted to catch up to me to let me know I didn't have to be scared. Whatever his reasons were, I ran like hell and stayed as far from him as I could. I ran into the house where my Granny was. I did some crazy rambling gibberish and pointed frantically towards the yard. When my Granny saw Frances coming towards the house she laughed so hard it embarrassed me.
She said "That's just Frances. Don't be scared of him." My uncles all laughed at me. I met Frances and got over the blind panic. People should warn a sister, you know? Anyways... Frances talked all the time but I couldn't ever understand one word he said. My granny knew exactly what he was talking about at all times and I could figure out what he was talking about from listening to her end of the conversations.
My uncles used to tease Frances about going to the club to pick up women. He did go to the club. I wonder how many takers he got. It was high comedy watching Frances drink a cup of coffee. That cup would shake all over the place but he could get the job done. He laughed the most of anyone about the shaky coffee cup.
When Granny's house was full of people, there would be a lot of laughter and story-telling and good food, and when Frances was there it would get really loud, because the funnier it was to him, the louder he got. He seemed to always be having a great time.
Frances lived his life as if he had no idea he had any handicaps. You think I'm about to tell you that Frances died or something, dontcha?
I'm not going to say that, because I don't know if he's still living or not. I'm certain my uncles would know and I'll ask next time I see one of them. I was just talking with my mom earlier tonight and we were talking about how Frances scared the shit out of me when I first met him and all the funny stuff he did. Good ole Frances.
My apologies to anyone who loves a person with CP and feels offended.