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I Collect People

John W. Pinkerton


I collect people.

Not the everyday species…folks who are talented, strong of character, and have a sense of humor.  I started this venture when I was in high school.  I collected three fellows who seemed extraordinary to me.  Each offered a unique quality.  One was something of an intellectual, another was aggressively attacking the world, and the third had a wonderful sense of humor.  Each went on to successful lives and careers.

In college, LSU, I collected two more fellows:  they've never disappointed me.  One's career included teaching in college and owning a firecracker stand.  The other became a rocket scientist and boat captain.

When I was in the army, I added two fellow soldiers, one a very successful artist and educator, the other the most brilliant mind I ever encountered.

When I started my time as a teacher and librarian,  I managed to collect a few more…most are funny fellows who offered a lot of laughter.

Of course, some I wished to include in my collection got away from me…but not many.  You can't pin them to foam board like a butterfly collection.

This week, a fellow visited with us at our home.  He's a musician I've encountered a few times in Bryan, the nearby metropolis.  I was drawn to him the first time I met him.  We chatted a bit using Facebook.  I learned that he was an English major.  Maybe that's the connection I feel.   Maybe it's more.

I mentioned that he was a musician.  I see posts on Facebook regularly which indicate he's successful and popular.  He may be disappointed in me when he learns that my connection to music is tenuous  at best.

Since I've become an artist, I've collected several new people.  The ones I count as part of my collection are very talented…and often very quirky.  I don't mean that they're weird.  They just allow themselves to go places unusual.  Some artists I've tried to collect are resistant to me.  This is perhaps good judgment on their part.

Perhaps my own family is what prompted me to look outside this group for folks I found interesting.  My dad was fighter who was in many ways self-destructive.  My mother was a fighter who fought against being diminished by life until her last breath.  Although I found them interesting and usually helpful, I longed for more interesting folks.

None of these fellows live closer than 25 miles from our home.  I seldom see them in person, but I know they're out there doing extraordinary things.

Only a couple of these folks from the past have passed away.  I miss them, but in my mind they're still alive and doing remarkable things.