After we arrived and I was getting out of the car I realized I had forgotten a couple of important items: My cane-chair and my cell phone. My spirits sank with the realization that I would never be able to cover the grounds without the cane-chair, which gives me a place to sit no matter where I am. Obviously I'd be looking for benches to sit on while I looked at tractors with Cliff. Benches are in high demand at these shows, though, considering about 2/3 of the attendees are of retirement age.
Cliff and I split up to walk through the flea-market area. I found a couple of cheap items of interest there, visited with my neighbor Diane who lives down the road and is always at that flea market selling things, and then met with Cliff and strolled with him toward the area where there are other vendors selling all sorts of
I sat down. I had turned on the IPad and started a new game when a man about my age approached and said, "Is that an IPod?"
"It's an IPad," I said.
He started asking a lot of questions about it. He hates computers and has no desire to own one, but he would like a device on which he could keep names, addresses, and phone numbers, and also keep notes; he wondered whether he would have to have Internet to do such things on an IPad. I told him he would not, but suggested he find something cheaper than an IPad for his purposes. No need to spend a lot of money for what he wanted.
Then somehow the conversation turned, and I now know more than I ever wanted to know about the guy. Oh, he was a nice person, he just did more talking that I'm used to, and didn't really give me a lot of chances to converse back. Here are things I learned about him: He's a Shriner; he's a member of the Lathrop tractor club, but doesn't have a tractor because he doesn't have a garage where he could work on tractors. He used to work at the Allis Chalmers combine plant in Independence. I told him our tractor club president retired from there and gave his name. Oh yeah, he knows him. I asked his name so I could tell Bill I talked to him, and he said the people he worked with only know him as Rocky. Let's see, what else? Oh, he and his wife were married on Main Street in Lathrop in old-fashioned clothes because it was the town's centennial at the time. He once got autographs from John Kerry, two big fancy framable autographs... one for himself and one for his wife, but she sold hers for $250 and put a new tile floor in her porch and calls it the John Kerry porch. He also managed to talk to Bill Clinton and get his autograph, but Bill left the room to do it so others wouldn't see him and want the same favor. Oh, and the evil Bush family is somehow seeing to it that all of the jobs in this country are going to China.
Oh, I'm just getting started. He got back to the "I wish I had a garage" and I said, "Well, why wouldn't you build one? I know you could afford it if you worked at Allis Chalmers for thirty years." And I explained how Cliff and I went in debt to build his shop and it was the best thing we ever did. So then he had to tell me how he hates debt, but a few years ago he found a deal on the prettiest pickup in the world and got a loan. He made several payments on it, and one day got a call from the banker. I won't stretch the story out like this guy did, but turns out somebody who will forever remain anonymous paid off his loan. The banker was sworn to secrecy, but said it's someone Rocky knows well. He's tried to figure it out and has asked different people, but nobody will confess to doing it. He thinks they did it because he has always tried to help people, especially old folks. Every morning he drives around town (Lathrop isn't a very big town), gets out of his car, picks up the newspapers thrown in older folks' yards, and takes them to their porches, sometimes even placing it inside their screen doors.
"Well then, you should borrow money and build a garage and maybe the person would pay that off for you too."
I think that's about the time he decided to move on.
Actually, I did enjoy the whole conversation, and I truly believe he's a nice guy, even if he IS a Democrat and talks a lot (those who know me will realize I jest; I'm equally disenchanted with all political parties). Just before Rocky left me, a lady came over and sat on my bench, and a whole new conversation started. That will be another entry.