He happily took a cigarette offered to him. I asked him if he was hungry- “Lang, I’m starving”. How about a pizza? “I can eat the whole thing- I’m that hungry”, he replied. You could see he couldn’t stand up right. He was leaning against the wall, slouching towards the right side, holding his left side with his hand. He began to explain why he was physically like this, it brought tears to my eyes.
He began telling me how he was collecting pallets in the back of some warehouse where he had done it many times before with permission. He explained that the pallets which have blue on them and are in good shape get him$10 and the ones that are broken, between $5 and $7 dollars. He was in the back trying to get a couple of pallets when three warehouse workers came outside yelling & cursing at him to get out of here. He did not argue the point, just tried to get his stuff and leave, but it wasn’t fast enough for them. These three individuals began beating him as he was trying to leave. This beating, that was in no way provoked or deserved, resulted in a broken shoulder and three broken ribs! I had to look away because of the rage I felt and tears swelling in my eyes. They have to pay for their ruthless actions. I asked him where this place was, he knew why but instead said to me, “no Lang I have forgiven them and so has God”. I’m not going to lie, there was no forgiveness in my heart for what these three individuals did to him, that forgiveness only came later as we continued to talk.
The subject changed and a smile appeared on this man’s face. He began telling stories from his past that you could see made him very happy. “I’m from Texas originally but have been around here for a long time. I’ll tell you one of my favorite stories” he continued. “I remember when Jimi Hendrix played at the Ventura Fairgrounds! You couldn’t believe the fairgrounds then. It was like a wolfpack of Jimi fans. All adoring the music and telling each other about their love for him. The music was unbelievable, That man sure could play that guitar. Sadly I think that might have been his last show. I’m not sur,e but no matter what we lost one of the greatest guitar players ever”. The way he told the story, talked about the people, hummed the music, pretended to play guitar made you feel like you were there yourself listening to Jimi Hendrix play at that fair.