Leon’s Perspective on Life (and Other Things)

I met Leon this morning about 5:45am. He was at the Memphis train station when I arrived, along with his suitcase and a bottle of Jim Beam. He had spent the night outside and was planning to take a train to Kentucky to meet his girlfriend. As the first two people there, we started talking.

He offered to be my bodyguard because, as he said, “it looks like you need one.” He was quite willing to tell me all kinds of things about his life. He’s been married twice and misses his daughter. He told me he was 69 years old but had a secret to life. That truly piqued my interest as he actually didn’t look that old at all. “Always have a young girlfriend,” he told me with a wink.

“Make sure you have fun in life,” Leon advised. “Too many people go through life a little too serious. You gotta find things to laugh at, things that are fun, you know?” I told him I did. “Even though you smile a lot, I think you’re one of those serious types,” Leon continued. “In fact, I don’t think you need a body guard after all. I’m thinking that you can take care of yourself. Are you packin’? I bet you are.”

I simply looked at him as non-committally as I could. And I smiled. Let him assume as he would assume. “I’m harmless,” I reassured him. “Yeah, right,” my new if not deeply misinformed friend responded. And he winked again. Looking me right in the eye he concluded, “You can’t judge a book by its cover.”

You’re right, Leon. And I’ll try not to do it again.

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