Forty years ago he was producing Coconut Grove concerts. In the 90's we both wrote for community newspapers. Three years ago I discovered Charlie Brown sleeping in the drive-through at Regions Bank.
The Grove's brick sidewalks have always been his favorite place. He'd say with a smile, "You never know who you'll meet". For years I enjoyed conversations with him there as he enjoyed his usual cigarette and beer. He told my sons how it was, growing up with Elvis sixty-five years ago. He always had stories to share and now his hangout had become his home.
I offered help that morning but he assured me, "I'll be okay". Two years ago a stranger hit him in the face with a brick. Charlie spent over a year in hospitals and rehab facilities. I wondered if I'd ever see him again.
Thinner than ever, he nearly ran me over in his new, electric wheelchair last week . We were both shopping in CVS. He joked that he was "buying breakfast", a six-pack of Bud and a carton of cigarettes.
His eyes brightened as he told me his future plans, "I'm movin' to California. Gonna grow dope with a buddy o'mine. It's legal there, y'know." I wished him luck . The doors parted for the future farmer as he made his way back to the sidewalks of Coconut Grove.
St. Augustine had its Museum of Death and Key West, The Torture Museum. Now Miami has its own venue for sub-human entertainment. Miami Dade College is now featuring "Instruments of Torture" at its downtown art gallery. You've probably seen it advertised in The Miami Herald and on lamp post banners.
The ad says, "The exhibition aims to be an accusation of torture rather than an explanation of the methods used by totalitarian systems thoughout history".
Does it includes Abu Gharib dog leashes or Dick Cheney's waterboards? You can find out by visiting The Horrible Things We've Done To Prisoners exhibit. It is located on the first floor of Miami's historic Freedom Tower. For tickets and information go to http://www.miamitorture.com/