20 May 2009

Travelin' Man

I came back to NC last Saturday, and I'm going back down to Florida this afternoon.

Last week I left the wife to take care of some things for Pop. He really didn't need the help, I suspect he just wanted the company. She's more than ready to come back home.

On the way north I took a detour through Jax Airport rather than take I-295 all the way to I-95. I really can't say why.

On the entrance ramp there was a man holding a sign that said "Virginia". Yes, I stopped to pick him up. Again, I really can't say why.

His name was Mickey, and he was coming from Las Vegas, Nevada going to Richmond, Virginia where his brother lived. He had grown up in North Carolina, and had worked mostly odd jobs in Vegas for the past 15 years or so. When the economy went south so did the demand for unskilled labor.

He told me tales of his travels from Vegas to Jacksonville, and I told him some sea stories. Somewhere in the middle I made sure he had a full belly, and I let him off when I peeled off of 95 onto I-40, heading for home.

He thanked me profusely, and told me he would never be able to repay me for getting him so far along his way, and for the meal. I told him that my ordained minister parents (yes, both of them) would have never let me hear the end of it if I had let him go away hungry. Whatsoever you do undo the least of these, and all that.

Mickey was a stranger to me, but his story is familiar. His story is why I pushed my kids to get an education and learn a trade. Two of the three who should have finished a long time ago have listened, a fourth is in grade school, and I'm still working on the third. Maybe he will listen one day, too. Until then I'll keep pushing.

God bless you Mickey. I hope you find what you are looking for.

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