“Look, Kids—A Gypsy!”

Okay, did someone pick up my neighborhood and plunk it smack down in the middle of Seattle when I wasn’t looking?

I’m serious.

No? Hmm… What about San Francisco?

Because I’m pretty sure I ain’t never seen nothing before like what I saw tonight in my neck of the woods!

(Did you like that little bit of improper English I threw in there for effect? Yeah, it hurt. So I hope you enjoyed it.)

True story.

This evening, Husband, Boy #3, and I were stepping out the front door, minding our own business, when something caught my eye.

I’m not sure how it couldn’t have caught my eye, because it was walking down the sidewalk directly in front of my house.

The “it” I’m referring to was actually a “she.” Pretty girl. Long, blonde hair. Tall, thin, probably in her early 20s.

Nothing too unusual about that, right?

Did I mention that she was barefoot?

And strumming a guitar?

And singing?

And dressed like a GYPSY?!?

Yes, that’s right. This evening, my neighborhood was visited by a traveling gypsy.

To really appreciate how much of an anachorism (That’s for you, Mom.) this is, you need to understand that I don’t live downtown in some new hip development where street performers and wandering hippies are your neighbors or at least frequent visitors. There’s no coffee house on the corner featuring “Open Mike Night.” No, I don’t even live IN Suburbia. I live on the OUTSKIRTS of Suburbia. We have a pond where kids fish and runners circle.

The only people on our sidewalks are either:
a) walking their dog,
b) walking their kids,
c) training for the next 10K, or
d) selling “MIRACLE!” carpet-cleaning solutions.

So this evening when I spotted the girl with her long, flowing skirt, hair pulled back in a scarf, and acoustic guitar in her hands, I had to do a double-take.

At first I thought maybe I was tripping. But then I remembered that I gave up acid years ago. (KIDDING!)

Then I stepped right back inside the house.

So did Husband.

“Did you see THAT?” I asked Husband, but I already knew the answer by the grin on his face.

“We’re being serenaded by a gypsy!” I said, a bit too loud obviously as Boy #3 asked in his not-so-quiet voice, “What’s a gypsy?!”

“We’ll talk about it in the car,” I said, ushering him into his carseat as I tried to nonchalantly follow the gypsy with my eyes.

Sure enough, as we drove down the street, we saw her about 7 houses due north, just a-strolling and a-singing away. Still barefoot.

Honestly, I don’t think I’ve EVER seen ANYTHING look more out of place…

“I gotta call someone,” I told Husband as I dialed my sister’s number. She lives on the street behind us, so I knew she’d be interested.

“Hello?” she answered.

“We’ve got gypsies,” I said. She and my brother-in-law were watching a movie, so they hadn’t seen the woman walk by. But I definitely got her attention.

“What?!” she said.

I proceeded to relay what I had seen, and she agreed that this was a most uncommon sight in the neighborhood, or even our city; heck, probably our state.

At this point, I really felt the need for some closure to this mystery. So many questions, so few answers (or, basically, NONE). For instance, where in the heck did she come from? There’s really nothing nearby, especially nothing that would interest a gypsy-like hippy-chick. I mean, there’s a carry-out-only Godfather’s Pizza a mile or so away, along with a new small retail store which I believe is called “Kyle’s Bikes.” I can’t really see her hanging out at either place.

“Maybe she’s taking a sociology class and this is an experiment she has to do. Maybe she has to observe how people react to her,” I said.

But she looked a little too comfortable in her role to be just a “I’m not really a gypsy but I play one on TV” character.

Later that night I asked Boy #1, who had been outside playing at his friend’s house behind ours, if he had seen the gypsy.

“You mean that hippy girl?” he asked.

“Yeah!” I said.

“Yeah, she was weird,” he said. Then he told me, “She was singing for kids.”

Okay, does anyone else find this weird?

Was she like some modern-day Pied Piper who was trying to bring a trail of kids back with her to Gypsy Land?

I am so curious as to the origin of this suburban gypsy, and why she chose to stroll through my neighborhood on a sweltering 100-degree day. And maybe why she wasn’t wearing shoes.

You know that I’m so going to be on “gypsy patrol” for the rest of the week, don’t you?


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