Tuesday, October 30, 2007


"Porkchop" (self-nicknamed) came into the Church thrift store today. A stocky black man, he's a bit disconcerting when he talks to himself. Today, he was loudly repeating "THAT!" for no apparent reason. He's a minor celebrity in our town, but he's no Otis Campbell of Mayberry fame. There was no concensus by residents in interviews for our local paper as to whether Porkchop is mentally retarded, mentally ill, or just plain different, but I don't believe he's the town drunk. There is also no concensus as to whether Porkchop is harmless or no.

Mostly, you'll see Porkchop on the streetcorners in our town, lifting a hand to wave at passers-by and sometimes shouting out to them. He stands talking to people that walk by. Sometimes, people will call howdy to him. I don't think I've ever seen him without his signature white hard hat, but the other day, I saw him with a gold one. Today, he was hatless, his bald head shining over the t-shirt table. I asked him where his hat was.

"Oh, I'm working today," he claimed. At what I know not, for to my knowledge he has no job except unpaid town greeter.

I asked about the gold hat. Oh, he told me, that was his special hat and that hat meant he had something good going on that day. I retreated to the back of the store to sort more clothing donations, when I heard a ruckus up front at the cash register. Porkchop had only fifteen cents, though he had items that cost more. Chuck, my co-volunteer, challenged him a little, but let him go, saying he'd catch Porkchop next week.

Our small town has it's small town mentality but I've often over these past twelve years been warmed by the genuine affection shown to people here that are a little different. It's nice to have someone acknowledge your wave as you drive by.

1 comment:

pita-woman said...

I laughed as I read about P/C. I've had him hollar at me a time or two. First time it happened, I wondered what I'd done wrong, 'til I finally came to realize he hollared at anyone/everyone.
The gold hat, hmmm, that must be like his tuxedo finery?


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