My daddy was a wise man. I once made the mistake of calling someone a bum. Dad knew the man. “Son, Dugan is not a bum, he is a way-faring man. He sells razor blades,potions and hair pins. He also does odd jobs to earn money to go on down the road. A bum does not work.” So in 1944 I learned that Dugan was really a modern Gypsy.
In Burlington, NC in the second grade I met a man who daddy said was a Blue Baby. I remembered his name for years, but that was in 1946/47. He was a very nice man but tired easily. His finger nails were bluish and he had a bluish tint. He was a studious man. His walls were lined with books. He was in his thirties. He died later that year and dad preached his funeral, a sad time, I was about 7.
The scariest man I ever met I was nine years old. We lived in Albemarle, NC. One day Shirl and I were riding with dad and he said, “Children I see a friend ahead, we are going to give him a ride, he is a nice man, don’t be scared of him. I call him Wooly, he has never told me his name.” Dad pulled up beside him. All the windows were down in the car, and dad called across the car to him, “Want a ride Wooly?”
“Yes sir Reverend, I would appreciate it,” came a quiet voice that did not match his looks.
Wooly was a tall slender man, you could hardly see his face for hair and beard, I had never seen a man with long hair but Wooly’s was. He wore dark clothes and it looked like homemade sandals. He got in the back seat WITH ME. He smiled at me and I got as close to the other door as I could. Dad and Wooly talked for a few miles then he got out.
Dad told us that Wooly belonged to a religious group called Israelites, they did not cut their hair nor drive cars, among other ‘odd’ things. And I thought, I sure am glad I don’t go to his church, ours is bad enough!!!
The most infamous was Steve Chambers. We knew him when he was about 5 years old. He lived in our little wooden house that we rented out when I was sent to GITMO. He lived with his mama and siblings. His mama was bad enough, she would not pay the rent. Finally while I was overseas Sherry had to have them evicted.(That is a story in itself). Steve grew up to mastermind the largest bank robbery in North Carolina. Stealing $17.3 million from Loomis Fargo. The third largest heist in the USA. Of course he was caught later. His mom also went to jail.
All of us have met “That person who is different.” AND SOME OF US ARE THAT PERSON WHO IS DIFFERENT!
There are a lot of ‘different/odd’ folks in the world, but those are some of the ones I have met.
Who ever said, “Never judge a book by its cover”, said a wise thing.
Methinks I see a Nomad in the middle.