Thursday, September 02, 1999

Slices of not-so-ordinary life in Northern Ky.




BY KAREN SAMPLES
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A guy who looked a lot like Jesus was spotted recently walking along Dixie Highway.

        Elsmere police watched the man for a few blocks. When he ducked into St. Henry's Church to escape the rain, officers followed.

        “What was odd about it, this guy's got a white pajama thing on, a beard, blond hair down to his shoulders, a rope for a belt and no shoes,” says Officer Doug Eagler. “He looks like Jesus Christ. People are stopping on (Dixie) and looking.”

        The man identified himself as Carl Joseph, age 39. Said he was a missionary on his way to Detroit.

        Mr. Eagler noticed he was carrying nothing but a Bible. “You don't have a backpack or anything?” he asked.

        “The good Lord always provides,” replied the man.

        He looked clean and acted unusually humble, Mr. Eagler says. After a few minutes of conversation, the police left.

        Mr. Eagler recalls the Aug. 24 episode with amusement and a bit of wonder. He said he's glad Elsmere police treated the wanderer with respect.

        “You never know,” he says.

        WALKIN' AND READIN': A man named Don is a more permanent presence along Dixie Highway. You may know him as The Reader.

        “I just saw him the other day and thought, "Wonder what he's doing?'” says Julie Maddox of Fort Mitchell. “I always wonder about him.”

        Nearly every day he strolls along, either carrying a book at his side or reading one as he walks. Rail-thin, carefully dressed, he looks like a man with some interesting secrets.

        Here's one of them: Don walks so he won't fall asleep while reading.

        Sometimes, he walks all the way to the downtown Cincinnati public library and back. In his retirement, he has dedicated himself to mind expansion, and he leans toward books on philosophy, ethics and religion.

        Don isn't interested in publicity, though. He likes exchanging pleasantries with other walkers, he says, and too much attention might affect that. His routine not only keeps him awake, but also in touch with the community.

        SOUND OFF: A Bellevue reader says she agrees with my recent column about the World Peace Bell, in which I questioned whether a big bell in Newport will have much effect on civil war around the globe.

        “I thought I was the only one who wasn't thrilled with the peace bell, since I'm an old crab and still don't think that 10 football games are worth millions. Schools are more deserving,” writes Elizabeth Lemlich.

        TAKING TARZAN: The word Tarzan is in the dictionary. Only Allen Ellis would know such a thing.

        He's a librarian. But instead of The Iliad, he's into comic books and movies.

        This semester at Northern Kentucky University, Mr. Ellis planned to teach a new course: Understanding Tarzan — 87 Years of an International Icon.

        “One of the things we would talk about in some depth is how the story stands up to reality, what we know about nature vs. nurture, heredity, things like that,” says Mr. Ellis, who lives in Edgewood.

        Unfortunately, only four students signed up, possibly due to schedule conflicts, and the class was canceled. Anyone interested in a future course can call Mr. Ellis at 572-5527.

        IDEAS WANTED: Contact me with your opinions and news about people in Northern Kentucky. I'll be doing more compilations of short items like these.

        Karen Samples is Kentucky columnist for the Enquirer. Her column appears Thursdays and Sundays. She can be reached at 578-5584, or by e-mail at ksamples@enquirer.com.