September 28, 2014

9/28/2014. This encounter which occurred early during my current walk while I was still in Florida, is repeated for my good friend Mark Passaro:

At the one convenience store between Cross City and Perry, Florida, after I ate, I went outside to check my cooler to see if I needed more ice. As soon as I went out the door I heard a baby screaming as loud as I ever heard one scream. In front of me in an SUV was the baby, in two of the largest arms I’ve ever seen on a man! They were covered in tattoos and he was ever so gently, patting the baby on the back. Mommy, in the passenger seat, who had been preparing something, then took the child and the driver looked over at me and my cart. I said, “That’s quite a set of lungs there.” Smiling, the huge man said, “Yup, he’s gonna’ be a good one I think.” I got some ice and as I was dumping it in I realized I could get the whole bag full in if I had someone to help by holding my cart level while I dumped in the ice. I looked over and saw the guy still watching me, so I asked could he possibly hold my cart level for me. He started getting out of his vehicle and I thought he would never get all the way out. The man was absolutely huge! He had tattoos everywhere, on his neck, on his fingers, just everywhere. He apologized for being so slow getting out and explained he had some health problems. I immediately started apologizing and asked him to please forget about it that it was not really that important. But he insisted and said he really needed to get out for a while anyway.

We got the ice in and as he walked away from me I saw on the back of his shirt, “Support Your Local Black & White” I asked, “Is that Black & White as in Outlaws?” Without turning around, he very simply said, “I’m an Outlaw.” I told him I had known a few other Outlaws many years ago. I named them. Some he had known and others he had heard of. He told me his name was Curly. He was completely bald except for a very small pony tail; very low at the base of his neck. He had numerous small gold rings in his left ear. Curly told me he was from Peoria. I gave him my card. As I walked back into the store to retrieve my phone from charging I noticed Curly behind me and held the door for him. As I was on my way back out I heard, “Hey Steve, come ‘ere.” I looked over to see Curly towering over the shelves he was searching for snacks. He motioned for me to come around to where he was. He had a twenty folded up very small and said, “I want to help you with whatever it is you’re doing.” I told him I appreciated it very much. He said, “I know you do, just pay it forward man… pay it forward.” I told him that I do pay forward. Curly said, “Yeah, I bet you do.” Back outside he said, “Look man, you run into any of my brothers in your travels, tell ‘em you know Curly… most of ‘em know me.” LOVE LIFE with all your heart my friends and you too will find Love in some unexpected places.