I often see this interesting looking wayward soul walking down to what I think is the Piggly Wiggly. He never fails to wave at me jovially as if I know him very well. He has one of the roughest and bushiest grey beards I have ever seen with a cap covering up his head which what best can be described as a tangled bird’s nest. They would call him a “rough sleeper” in Britain. I affectionately call him the mountain man or Grizzly Adams. He is just another one of those fringe dwellers I tend to run into in my life. I love these people that walk off the beaten path of normalcy. Maybe it’s my compassion for them all that brings us all together as fringe dwellers.
“Need a ride?” I asked the old fellow yesterday as I pulled up close with my passenger’s side window down.
He thanked me profusely and got in my car after asking me if I would mind taking him to Fat Albert's and then to the Piggly Wiggly.
I often worry about his house that is literally crumbling down around him. The undergrowth has gotten so bushy and tangled that you can barely see the house from the bottom of the road. For all intents and purposes, it should be condemned. What makes a man give up worrying about what conventional society thinks about him and the conventionality of it all? We all have our burdens to bare, but some are more burdensome than others – murky pasts that follow us into the here and now cluttering up our present with “gifts” from the past.
While he was playing the lottery, I got my favorite 300% hotter sausages and a 1-liter Coca-Cola. “What the hell,” I said to myself and bought a few scratch off lottery tickets as well. I didn’t win a thing as usual. Dad likes to do that some times as well, buying tickets then passing tickets around the car to each of us. My brother once won $25 dollars when dad did this one Saturday afternoon.
The other attraction I had at Fat Albert's was their hotdogs. I stood for a long moment deciding whether to get one or not. It was still kind early in the day for hotdogs. I finally bought two of their “cheeseburger” hotdogs and headed to the car to eat them. Soon, Old Grey Beard was right behind me as we headed to the Piggly Wiggly to get some luncheon meat and a loaf of bread.