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Ordinary People



“…of no special quality or interest; commonplace; unexceptional; plain or undistinguished…”

It’s just possible that I have never met an ordinary person. My FaceBook™ feed, in fact, tells me the odds are very high that a serial killer brushed shoulders with me last week at the mall.

The United States, I discover, has produced seventy-six percent of the world’s serial killers—presumably of those who’ve been identified—and that they tend to be in the 25-35 age group and Caucasian. The odds are probably about the same for crossing paths with a future Nobel laureate. So, all things considered, these statistical possibilities aren’t going to keep me housebound. Indeed, they don’t simply neutralize one another; the second trumps the first—by a longshot.

I’d been concerned that Agincourt’s citizens (those I’ve identified) have been anything but undistinguished. [Sorry for that semi-double negative.] Then again, it’s not for me to say.

Time Capsule

Pandora Lock & Key made a service call in Howard’s neighborhood yesterday afternoon. The side of their truck asks “Do you really want to open that? We can help”—which isn’t necessarily rhetorical. Let me explain.

Among the artwork in the Community Collection is a delightful albeit naïve work by Frank Minarik. The artist himself would be surprised to know 1) that he’s called an artist and 2) that his painting hangs in a public gallery. But as surprising is the time capsule found behind thick brown paper during recent conservation.

frank minarik

Frank Minarik butchered meat on Agincourt’s north Broad Street in the 1920s and ’30s. As the commercial neighbor of Vandervort’s bakery, all they lacked was a candle-maker to have borne the brunt of “rub-a-dub-dub.”  Minarik’s art, however, is just the first of several points that seem out of context with his butchery. He also played shortstop for the Archer’s double-A baseball team; he taught Sunday School at Saint Ahab’s church. There were, no doubt, other dimensions to his role in community affairs: politics, perhaps—though there’s no evidence of interest in elective office—or social service. Where would he have found  the time?

By most measures, Minarik was an ordinary citizen. Until a manila envelope fell from behind that painting.

“For Daryl” is chiseled across the envelope in script that betrays an age of penmanship; when pencils sharpened with a knife made thicks and thins invoking ancient Rome. But who’s Daryl?

I’ll tell you if you promise to be discreet. Let’s keep this among friends.


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