Take a hike


Throughout his decades as a steady presence on the local scene, he has cultivated an air of quiet reserve. But now, one of Wakefield’s most iconic figures has finally broken his silence.

Some may find what he had to say shocking.

In an exclusive interview with the Wakefield Daily Item, the character known affectionately as “The Hiker” touched on a wide range of topics, from his own identity issues to “toxic masculinity” and gun rights.

We caught up with the local icon in front of The Rockery in Wakefield Square.

WAKEFIELD DAILY ITEM: What’s the one thing that you would like people to know about you?

THE HIKER: That I’m not a “Minuteman” — not that there’s anything wrong with that. Does this look like a tricorn hat to you? This is Wakefield, not Lexington or Concord. Come on people. Take a history class.

WDI: You’ve certainly seen a lot in your 92 years.

TH: I’ll tell you what I haven’t seen: a car stopping at the “Stop” sign in front of the YMCA – I mean, Artichokes. The next car that stops will be the first one.

WDI: Since you carry a gun, some regard you as a symbol of toxic masculinity.

TH: I’m a soldier, son. You want to send me off to war but you don’t want me to carry a weapon? I have five words, my friend: “From my cold, bronze hands.”

WDI: It’s not just the rifle. You never smile and you maintain that constant, stoic expression.

TH: You do know I’m a statue, right? I’ll show you toxic masculinity. I was in the Spanish-American War, not some goat yoga class on the Common. We weren’t afraid to call ourselves infantrymen back then, either. Because that’s what we were. You 21st century types think you’re so enlightened. But you can’t change history. I guess they don’t teach that in school anymore.

WDI: OK, take it easy. Let’s change the subject. If you could ask one thing of your hometown, what would it be?

TH: Call me vain, but I like to maintain a bronze tone year-round. Lately, my coloring hasn’t been so good. Do I have to spell it out for you?

WDI: The climate certainly does take a toll on bronze.

TH: Please don’t assume my composition. I’m material-fluid. I’m identifying as marble right now, which you would have known if you had bothered to ask.

WDI: Let’s move on to a less controversial subject. How tall are you?

TH: I’m 9 feet tall, not counting my boulder. Height runs in my family.

WDI: Talk about your family, if you don’t mind.

TH: Well, the woman who brought me into this world was from Brookline, God rest her soul. I have at least 50 brothers scattered around the country but I never see them. I don’t get around much.

WDI: Why not?

TH: Seriously? Don’t be an ableist jerk.

WDI: Sorry. I wasn’t thinking. One final question. How did you get the name, “The Hiker.”

TH: During the war, we were known for taking long hikes through steaming jungles. But I was much younger then. Now, I’d give anything just to walk around the Lake.

[This column originally appeared in the February 7, 2019 Wakefield Daily Item.]

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