It has been said of some that they march to the beat of a different drummer. Of Yamos Dunn it was said that he danced to the tune of a fiddler only he could hear. Yamos Dunn, of course, was not the name his mother had given him on the day of his birth, but he did acquire it at a very young age.
When he was still very early and fresh on life’s journey, Yamos, the youngest of a relatively large family, would linger long over his evening meal, more contemplating than consuming the repast placed before him. When everyone but he and his slightly older brother had left the meal, his father would look up at him across the table and ask, “Yamos Dunn?” Of course he never was.
The ritual became so regular that Yamos’ father surrendered the idea of staying at the table with the boys but rather when the all but the two youngest had finished their meals he would set a timer on the table set for thirty minutes with the instruction that should the bell on the timer ring before the boys had finished eating they were to go straight from the table to their beds for the night.
One evening, long, long after the family had completed the evening meal, after all had forgotten about the two boys and gone to their various nightly activities, Yamos’ father was on his way down the stairs when he was met by his two young sons ascending the stairs with their chins almost dragging each step.
Being somewhat concerned for their despair, he asked, “What’s wrong?”
Yamos looked up with tears glistening in his eyes and the apparent weight of great failure on his tiny shoulders and replied, “We got dinged.”
They did go to bed and they slept, no doubt, fitfully, listening to the noises of their brothers and sisters enjoying their own freedoms well into the night.
Yamos was a very obedient, if sometimes reluctantly so, young child.
One night Yamos appeared at the bedroom door of his parents to say good night seeming to be barely able to contain himself. They exchanged the customary niceties with him amid giggles and stifled laughter. When he headed back down the hall, he could contain his mirth no longer and disappeared around the corner in waves of uproarious guffaws.
“What was that about,” his father asked.
“Didn’t you see,” replied the mother.
“His pajamas. They didn’t match. He had a shirt from one set and the pants of another.”
Yamos was a very curious child. He wanted to know what the world was about and he soon developed his own ideas of how things should be. He had a special perspective on what was right, how things worked, and what it means to be free.
Yamos grew to be a well respected man, compassionate and honest; generous almost to a fault. Sometimes when he would speak people would nod approvingly, and sometimes they would exchange quizzical glances, not knowing whether what he said was to be challenged, or was simply another product of his somewhat dry sense of humor.
In all that he did and said, Yamos tried to be the man he believed he should be. He lived in such a manner as to avoid regrets and to leave the world behind his steps a little better than it was at his approach. He called it picking up the trash along the way, and indeed he did, as he walked along, pick up the trash along his path.
Was he a good man? Most would say he was. Was he a kind man? All would agree he was. Was he a strange man? Many would say so, but some would say he was different, just different.
We all walk the paths we choose to walk and to some degree we each live in our own separate world, but for most it’s not so obvious. With Yamos it was. Now and again some would join him along the way and now and then a world would be changed by one’s look into his. Whatever he found, and whatever he would choose, it was ever apparent that he lived very specifically and quite uniquely in the sometimes odd world of Yamos Dunn.