So Out of Style It's in Again —
Ask About Our Senior Discount
Volume II, Issue I - April 2011

"Do you see that man over there?" Bob asked as he made a turn onto the country highway near where he lives in Tallahassee. I glanced back and saw an old man walking slowly along the side of the road, no habitations in sight, only forest, and no other people except in cars. Bob told me that the man spent everyday walking back and forth along this stretch of highway, looking for things that other people had thrown away. It used to be easier for him before the county fenced in the dumpsite he used to pick through. “I don’t know what he finds anymore, but he’s always hauling stuff back to his shack. Imagine what it looks like.”

“Have you ever spoken to him?” I asked.

“I’ve been told he’s not approachable. He’s seriously disturbed.”

“What about leaving something for him to find?”

“I’ve considered it,” Bob said. “But I can’t predict exactly what his path would be . . .”

Of course he’d considered it. He’s a short story writer, one of our best: Robert Olen Butler. Eudora Welty once spied an old woman walking across a back field of hers and from the simple question, I wonder where she’s headed?, she composed the classic short story, “A Worn Path.” Not one of my favorites, admittedly, but the point is that when you see someone walking alone in the country, you wonder where they’re headed.

We, in Bob’s car, were purposeful. We were headed for the Tallahassee Antique Car Museum. Bob had invited me down for a reading and we had some spare time. He intuited, I guess, that I’m exactly the kind of person who would like to go to a car museum – we had passed it once already. It’s hard to miss with its giant Uncle Sam statue on the front lawn beckoning visitors to enter. The guy who owns it is millionaire DeVoe Moore, who hasn’t limited himself to classic cars, but collects other things as well, including an antique organ that Bob’s mother once owned. It wasn’t a family heirloom, just a canny purchase she made, and when she sold it Moore showed up personally to make the purchase. Bob wanted to see if it had made the move from the museum’s previous cramped quarters to its new location.

Heather F. Wetzel