People often ask me, "Where do you find the stories you tell?"
Well, sometimes they walk right by you and you reach out andcatch them.
Last year, about this time, I accompanied Jim to his orthopedist. While I was waiting for him I found a wonderful story sitting right next to me. Not only that - when I asked that man, "may I ask you about your tatoos?" he opened my eyes to a whole new world of stories.
Ever since I shamelessly engage strangers in conversations and without fail, the reward is a story.
It happened again today.
I looked up and saw the man standing at the little reception window in the doctor's office. I heard his breathy voice as he leaned in to speak to the receptionist he propped his large, fat, polished stick against the wall. I heard his voice first.
"Let me ask you something," he said to the receptionist. "I noticed that there are signs in the lobby and in the halls - direction signs - with Braille dots underneath. They spell out directions."
" Yes, that's right. " she agreed.
" I don't want to make trouble or anything - but how are blind people going to know to go over and feel those little dots?" A long silence and then they both laughed. What a great question!
He was a hefty. over-middle aged man, wearing, faded jean bib-coveralls and a dark T-shirt. Over that, he wore a studded black leather vest with comemorative ride patches sewn across the back and down the vest fronts.
Under his black Stetson hat his long white hair was pulled back in a pony tail. He had blue eyes behind smallish wire rimmed glasses. Walking was a struggle. He was breathing hard and leaning heavily on his stick-cane as he moved past me to the next seat.
"Great vest." I said.
" I said that is a great vest. Are those patches from motorcycle rides you have made.."
" Yep, on my Harley. The patches are from Rolling Thunder - do you know what that is?
"I sure do." I said, thinking back to the guy I met last year - also a biker who rode in Rolling Thunder.
Here we go, I thought. I know there is a story on the way. And there was!
And I will be telling it - later.
For the moment I am calling the story The Man in the Black Stetson Hat.