Saturday, February 24, 2007

The True Dreamer

Anyone who's lived in Lansing during the past two decades knew Andrew Anthos. We might not have known his name, but we knew he was the Dome Guy. The guy with the gently nutty dream of lighting the Capitol Dome in red, white and blue one day a year to honor military vets. I talked to Mr. Anthos several times, always agreeing to sign his petition. His soft voice and gentle demeanor were incongruous to his determination to light the dome. Every time I saw him, he talked about how he'd just had a meeting with the governor or some state senator, and that he knew lighting the dome would happen one day.

Andrew Anthos was a true dreamer. Maybe the first pure, true dreamer I ever met. I've never encountered someone on a consistent basis who had such a singular purpose for so long. He fought to get that petition signed for years. Would it be chintzy to our Upper Midwestern sensibilities to light the dome? Maybe. Was the idea weird and unattainable? Yes and probably. But was it based in nothing but love and pure enthusiasm? Unquestionably. He was a dreamer! Dreamers are nuts! But they're the ones who break through the gray and paint our days in the crazy, brash colors that make us smile and laugh and shake our heads! Long live the dreamers!

All of this, and Andrew Anthos meets the darkest of endings. Beaten to death on a Detroit sidewalk. Reportedly, because his assailant thought he was gay. It's especially sickening when the people "with it" enough to retain a sense of love and wonder about the world run smack into the world's blacker elements. In the World's Great Ledger of Good vs. Evil, a big check has just been made in the evil column.

Andrew Anthos won't be pleasantly pestering people around Lansing to sign his cockamamie petition anymore. He won't be knocking on doors throughout the Capitol. He won't be explaining to kids like me why it'd be so wonderful to light the dome in honor of the military veterans he held in such high esteem. And the lights get dimmer, and the world grows colder.


Beth said...

So sad :( I totally remember him!

Dr. Hot Crap said...

This reminds me of the story of a Cleveland guy (some years back, and I wish I could remember his name; Ralph something) who was killed while doing his regular rounds of feeding and clothing the homeless.

Worst. people. ever.