One of those unique characters in my life passed away last week. I had known Marty Scott so long I really don’t remember how I first met him.
He was one of those people that comes along in your life and just automatically fits in. Marty was the funniest person that I have ever known.
His demeanor, his size and especially his wit, stood out like no other person I have ever met.
Let me describe Marty for you.
Let’s just say, he was about as tall as he was big around, red headed with a receding hairline and sweated profusely.
My first memories of Marty where at Gadsden Wholesale, a store I owned from 1978 until 1991 when I sold it and moved to Carrollton, Georgia.
Marty and his wife Donna ran a route selling a host of items, including pork skins, to the many mom-and-pop stores across North Florida.
Like I said, I don’t remember the very first time I met them, but he was a regular at the store. We became friends through there.
He and I started doing some swap-outs with items he sold and ones that I carried. He would trade me snacks for Red Smith pickled pigs feet. He drove a large step van and would pull up to the front of the store, open the side door and the first thing you would see was him standing on the sideboard dropping a wooden box out the door tied to a string. He did this because he wasn’t tall enough to reach the ground without something to stand on.
When he would walk in the door, he would always have some sort of wisecrack to say.
Once, with a store full of customers, he said loud enough people within two blocks could hear him: “Hey Byron, you seen your ex-wife lately,” at the time I wasn’t divorced, but that didn’t bother Marty.
He then went into a litany of things about seeing her and her boyfriend on I-10. According to him, they had run out of gas and were pushing a motorcycle down the highway.
Once he asked me, if I was still drinking that “cheap wine;” again, I don’t drink, but I played along and told him I had stopped.
“Good, I was getting tired of kicking all those empty bottles of 20/20 (a cheap wine) off the porch when I come to visit,” he said.
Everyone that knew him will have a story about something he said or did that was funny.
He was full of stories as well. One I remember is both funny and an eye opener about him and his thoughts.
He was working a store on Orange Avenue in Tallahassee many years ago that was owned by a foreigner who did not speak particularly good English. Two fellows with mask and guns came in while he was servicing one of his snack racks and commenced to rob the store. There was a communications issue, especially when the store owner wouldn’t give them the money.
Marty had to intervene and translate what the excited robber was saying to the store owner.
In the end, he managed to talk the store owner into giving one of the robbers the money in the cash drawer. Then the robbers made all of the people in the store lay down on the floor. Marty had an expensive watch he wore and when he laid down, he put his arm with the watch on it under him.
They didn’t steal his watch; however, they stuck a pistol barrel to the top of his head.
“It was a .22-caliber pistol and the first thing that I thought was why couldn’t it be a big caliber pistol and not one that could put me in a wheelchair the rest of my life.”
For the last couple of years, Marty has been in a nursing home and was suffering from dementia. I know how much he enjoyed being around people and always stayed active.
As for me, I will always have Marty stories to tell and I am glad that I got to know such a fellow as Marty.
You see, there is a happy ending to Marty’s story. A few years back he started going to church and became a Christian. Now, thankfully, he is free of all the burdens of this life and back with the love of his life, Donna.
Byron Spires is a retired newspaper editor. He has written dozens of short stories and serials in the Havana Herald. He recently published “The Curious Life of Marci Bell: Part I,” in a series of three books. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.