Friday, February 6, 2015

The Robert of Liberty

It is a night like this that I wish I were better at expressing myself as a writer.

I wish to convey to you this feeling of fullness in my heart.

This is a story.  It is not about a specific project.  It does however capture the spirit of this blog-- using our imaginations and ideas to form our realities, and creating a beautiful today by recognizing the beauties surrounding us.  This the the story of The Robert of Liberty.  I hope that throughout this post you'll recognize that spirit in him.
Just a bit ago, Siri and I arrived back from what started as a somewhat silly idea, but ended up in that life category of "most fulfilling experiences".  

Maybe that's why it was so rewarding...because it began as a "I may or may not get around to it" idea, and then turned into about 20 minutes of meaningfulness.

We've been coming on these trips up north for Siri's medical treatments for nearly 4 years now.  And each winter it is cold.  

And each winter I drive down the street multiple times to the house we stay at for the month, and there is the statue of liberty out in the cold.  Not THE Statue of Liberty, but rather a person dressed as the statue of liberty, dancing and waving at us and the other cars and passengers in front of and behind us.  

I almost always wave back.
The statue holds a sign that proudly advertises for Liberty Income Tax.  And it's not just here!! There are many branches...many statues of liberties.

"WHO are these people?!" I sometimes wonder aloud.  "Do they like what they're listening to?"  "Do they enjoy this job?"  "How can I dance like them?!"

"How can I live like them?!"

There is one lady whose dance is nothing less than exuberant looking up exuberant...yup. it's a fitting word and is spelled correctly.  I really can't help but to absorb some of her energy and positive attitude as I shiver drive by... She is truly fascinating and the people here know who she is as soon as I mention her.
Here, on many nights it gets cold enough to wear two coats and a sweater...and pants and everything else too of course...but there's the statue of liberty...consistently there, in the cold and dark, dancing, pointing, and waving animatedly.  And they seem, at least to this passer-by, to be very much enjoying their happy party of one.

Earlier today I began asking friends and acquaintances what they would ask the Statue of Liberty if they could ask her anything.

They didn't know I was planning to ask the tax place Statue of Liberty.

When evening came, armed with my composition book, rollerball pen, two blog business cards, and a camera, Siri and I took off for the road.

I walked up to the statue of liberty and introduced myself.

Immediately he was im"press"ed.  He asked if I was with the press, and if I really wanted to interview HIM?!  

And I knew then, that this moment was bigger than you or me.

With great expectation, he asked me if I was going to take his picture?  "Yes, I said, if you will let me, I would love that.  My camera is in the car." 
How would I describe Robert? or as his Burger King friends and his co-workers know him, "Rob"?

I would describe him as excited...and many other e words that mean the same thing as excited. High spirited, very much approachable.

He is a man, old enough that I wouldn't ask him his age, and yet he has the enthusiasm of a child... hmmm...think Buddy the Elf.  He has the enthusiasm and optimism of Buddy the Elf.  Most everybody likes Buddy the Elf. And I'm pretty sure most everybody likes Rob.

I found someone very special there on the sidewalk.

During the interview two ladies walked by and said, "See you Rob!"  

He yelled over my shoulder, "I'M GETTING AN INTERVIEW FROM THE PRESS!" 
He then exclaimed to me, "Those are my Burger King friends!"

When we were finished with the interview, and I went for my camera, he yelled after me, "I'M GOING TO BE FAMOUS!"

After handing him two business cards, one for him and one for a friend ("MY BOSS!" he said.), he wanted to know when will his interview be published.

And it is that enthusiasm and expectation that has driven me to get right to it.  

I should be packing, cleaning, getting a shower, since Siri and I will start the long drive home tomorrow.

But instead I will write about The Robert of Liberty for you...for him...and for me.

Thank you to those of you who submitted questions!

Knowing these questions were intended for the original Statue of Liberty really added to the fun for me.  Hopefully you will find a little humor in that as well.

And Rob...I KNOW you're reading this.
I don't know that being featured in this journal of sorts will help you achieve your dream to become famous.  But I do know that it was an honor and MY ABSOLUTE DELIGHT to interview you.  And in my memory you will be famous, okay?  Thank you for taking our questions seriously and responding so thoughtfully.
Now please picture Rob along the road beside me, me with my composition book, he with his sign. It's cold, and while we talk he continues waving at the steady line/lane of traffic, checking with me every now and again if I will be writing "that" (whatever he just said previously), as he readily answers my (your) questions...

Me:  If you could be another color, what would you be?
Robert of Liberty:  Blue

Me:  How are your huddled masses?
Robert of Liberty:  What is that?

Me:  What history have you experienced?
Robert of Liberty went on to tell me how he experienced 9/11.
He was washing windows when he heard about it on the radio.  He stopped to hear what was going on.

Me:  Are you cold?
Robert of Liberty:  Not yet.

He had just begun his shift.  He showed me his gloves and told me they (the statue of liberties) get hand warmers.

Me:  How long have you been here (and I added how long will you be here tonight)?
Robert of Liberty:  Since five.  (His shift was 5-9pm.)

Me:  How long was your trip over?
Robert of Liberty:  Twenty minutes.

Me:  How was it?  stressful?  scenic?
Robert of Liberty:  I got a ride today.  I usually ride my bike, so peaceful.

Me:  Where did you come from?
Robert of Liberty replied with a nearby town.  I googled it did some serious research, discovering his town is 3 miles away and would take about 15 minutes to cycle.

Me:  How's the view up there?
Robert of Liberty:  (standing on a mound of frozen-over, street snow) Pretty good until the snow melts.
The Statue of Robert's view
Me:  How many birds have pooped on you?
Robert of Liberty:  None so far.  (laughing)  I like that one.
Me:  (possibly less amused) That was my husband's question.

Me:  Are you tired of so many visitors?
Robert of Liberty:  Nope.  I love them.  Except chihuahuas. They're always barking at me.

Me:  How long have you been here?
Robert of Liberty said he's been at this location for two years. Previously he was at another branch office for 4 years.

Me:  What are you listening to?
Robert of Liberty:  Ice Cube.  Eminem.  (and someone I don't know)
Me:  Who?
Robert of Liberty:  (someone I don't know)
Me:  Who?
Robert of Liberty:  (someone I don't know)
Me:  I don't know who that is. I'll have to look him up.
Robert of Liberty;  Look up 2pac.  The number 2, then "p" "a" "c".
Me;  Okay,  I will.
(I did!)

Robert of Liberty went on to tell me he would like to rap.  He'd like to become the next Eminem.

I asked him what he likes about Eminem.  He said he likes when Eminem doesn't make fun of famous people.

I asked him if he knows what I like about Eminem.  "What?" he asked.  "I like when they have peanut butter in the middle."

He thought that was funny, and said his boss said the same thing.

Me:  Where have you learned your moves? (this question was mine...since I knew I wouldn't be asking the original Statue of Liberty)
Robert of Liberty:  Watching everyone else.

Me:  Do you like pop tarts?
Robert of Liberty:  Yes!  Strawberry one.  I eat them at the library!

Me:  If you could, where would you relocate?  And I mean ANYWHERE.  If you could do this, dressed in that outfit, anywhere right now, where would you wish to be?
Robert of Liberty:  Seattle.  My sister lives in Seattle.

Me:  What's the most beautiful thing you've ever seen?
Robert of Liberty:  Rainbow

Me:  Would you like a scarf?
Robert of Liberty:  If it's free.

Me: Do you speak French?
Robert of Liberty:  Nope.
Me:  What other languages do you know?
Robert of Liberty:  Just English.  I want to learn Spanish cause all the women here are Spanish.
Me:  That's a good idea then.
Robert of Liberty:  Most of them are Spanish.

Me: This question comes from a three-year-old little girl.  She wants to know if you've ever seen a twinkle star.
After defining what she might possibly mean by a twinkle star, Robert of Liberty replied with the affirmative "Uh huh".

Me:  Do you get a discount at Starbucks?
Robert of Liberty:  Nope.  They should give me one.
Me:  Yes they should.

Me:  What do you do when you're not the Statue of Liberty?
Robert of Liberty:  Stay home.  Work on music.  I'm looking for a second job.
Me:  What would you like to do?
Robert of Liberty:  Anything not in the cold.

Me:  What is the strangest sight you've ever seen?
Robert of Liberty:  My dead dog.
Me:  That is more like sad.  What is the strangest thing you've seen?
Robert of Liberty:  When a bird dies from a tree.  I saw that when I was younger.  People tell me never touch them.

Me: This question comes from a seven-year-old boy.  He would like to know why are you so green? (Matthew would prefer that the Statue of Liberty would be white or silver.  He said I could quote him on that.)
Actually.  It looks like I forgot to ask this question.  Either that or I didn't write down Robert of Liberty's answer. I have nothing. Sorry Matthew!

Me:  Matthew's twin brother Connor was asked if he'd like to ask a question.  But Connor declined to comment at this time. (so no question)

Me:  Why are you in the middle of the ocean?
Robert of Liberty:  Is this like a joke?
Me:  yes.
Robert of Liberty:  So the airplanes can't knock you down.

Me:  Do you mind that you are not your original color (the color of copper?)
Robert of Liberty:  Nope.

Me:  Is there anything else you would like to say?
Robert of Liberty:  (for his boss)  Could you please use a tip jar?

Just then his boss came out to run an errand.  "Here he comes!" he said.  "You can meet him!" he said. Rob introduced us.

THANK YOU Robert of Liberty's boss (Mark I think?...I remember it begins with an "M") for being supportive, allowing him to answer our questions.

Another co-worker came out to take our photo for us.  I didn't catch her name. (But thank you too!  It was cold!)

As I got back into the car, Robert of Liberty called after me to "come visit again next year and your husband too!" 

He added, "I wish I could do this all year!"

I saw his boss return.  They shook hands, smiled and talked a little. It was clear that from beginning to end, Robert of Liberty was happy for this opportunity.

Me too.
The cars kept coming.  He continued waving at the cars, as I waited.   and waited.   and waited for our chance to turn into that lane of headlights that never seems to end.
An SUV let us cut in.

As Siri and I drove off,  appropriately,  Robert of Liberty and  I


How are you making your today world beautiful?
Please share your latest project photos and stories with us on our group fb page here!


  1. I think he did answer my question about the huddled masses Linnet. He dwells among them. What a delightful man with an outstanding attitude. So glad you and Siri were able to give him a moment of fame. And BTW you ARE a very gifted writer.....don't forget it.

    1. Well thank you Linda. He does seem to be surrounded by the masses doesn't he?

  2. Michelle Bowne Habernal​​Saturday, February 07, 2015 7:47:00 PM

    Having known Robert of liberty his whole life (I'm one of the sisters in Seattle), you did an awesome job interviewing him and understanding his awesomeness. Thank you for the pics and interview.

    1. Thank you so much Michelle!

      It really was my pleasure. I've been wondering if he has seen it yet, and was hoping that he approves and is proud of the outcome.

      It's getting lots of views!


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