The My Friend Russell Story
Written 10/2014 and rewritten 2/05/ 2016 unedited
Over the years I have written quite a bit about my friend Russell, he was a guy that spent so much time trying to beat the system that the system has totally beat him up.
I tried my best to talk Russell into living somewhat of an organized life. I tried so hard that he eventually got mad about it and stopped talking to me. But nevertheless Russel was such an interesting character that I have to tell you about him.
I met Russell around 1995, when he came to my company to get something repaired. I noticed that
He was a little scruffy, his pants needed cleaning and his sweatshirt had stains on it, but I felt he probably was working on some project and hadn’t time to change his clothes.
Russell and I talked about all kinds of things, and I realized that Russell was a pretty intelligent guy, he knew all about mechanical stuff, and he seemed to be an absolute specialist in aircraft parts. He knew a whole lot about antique aircraft.
Russell told me that he lived in the Naples area of South Florida and he said the city had levied all kinds of fines on him because they said, his property looked like a junk yard. After listening to him, it sure sounded to me like the city of Naples was going out of its way to pick on this poor guy.
Anyway, Russell was driving a beat up and dented diesel truck and he was pulling a flatbed trailer behind it. Everything looked fairly normal until I saw he had no registration date on the trailer license plate, probably Russel was just too busy to get one.
Russell told me he was a confirmed bachelor and lived in a trailer on his property in Naples. So I had visions of Russel living in a double wide trailer with a bedroom, living room and bathroom, in some upscale area of Naples.
Well one day I asked Russell if he wanted to leave some clothing with us and I could have it washed for him, but Russell said he never washed any clothing. I didn’t quite understand, so he explained that he waited until his clothing was real dirty then he threw it all away. He would then go in a thrift store and buy enough used clothing to last him a couple of weeks. He said it was cheaper and quicker than doing laundry.
Our company started buying some parts from Russell, but whenever we tried to reach him on his cell phone it was always disconnected, he said it was due to a clerical error, but after a year or so and several different phone numbers, we felt Russell was the kind of person that never paid his phone bill.
We also noticed that every time Russell gave us his social security number it was a different one.
I once suggested we try to introduce Russell to meet a nice girl that could help him do his paperwork, after that, whenever I mentioned finding a girl, he referred to her as his Ex- Mrs. Russell.
One day Russell was setting up to do a flea market at the Lakeland Airshow in Lakeland Florida, my wife and I decided to go there to see him, and perhaps help him.
Once we were there, Russell asked me to do him a favor, he said he had parked his house trailer in the airport parking lot, and would I fill a plastic five gallon water container and put it in his trailer for him. He wanted the water so he could wash up that evening.
Russell said I couldn’t miss seeing his little blue trailer, so I filled the five gallon container up with water, and went to look for Russell’s trailer, he was right, you couldn’t miss it, It was one of those small tear drop shaped things that you wonder how people even fit in them.
I opened the door, and stepped inside and my foot went through the floor. Later I asked Russell if this was his regular trailer home, and he said yes, he also told me that when he was hauling it to the Lakeland show, he stopped in a rest area to use the bathroom and a State Trooper thought he was abandoning the trailer and wouldn’t let him leave without it.
It always bothered me that Russell lived in that small trailer and I guess I finally got on his nerves as one day he said he had bought a much bigger ten foot by 20 foot trailer, I was elated that he was finally moving up in the world. Russell said he had gotten a good deal on the new trailer because it had once been in an accident, and it had rolled over only one time.
One day my wife Katherine asked Russell to pick her up a bottle of Gall berry honey at an upstate flea market he was attending. He did get it, but by the time he gave it to Katherine you could see where rats had eaten off most of the label, but Russell couldn’t understand why Katherine didn’t want the honey anymore. Russel said he had heard the rats eating the label during the night but he knew they couldn’t get in to the honey. It was after that when Russell stopped talking to us.
A year or so later, when Katherine and I went to Naples, we decided to look Russell up. We drove right into the everglades looking for his address, we had a problem finding it. Finally we stopped to look for his name on different rows of mailboxes. When I got out of the car, I was immediately attacked by over a million mosquito’s, I think that was the end of looking for Russel. On the way out of the rural area, we did see a piece of property that was messy and looked like a junk yard. I thought the city of Naples should levy a fine on whoever the owner was. That’s when we saw Russel’ truck pull onto the property.
I know he saw us, but he closed his gate behind him, and continued to drive down to a house trailer that looked like it only had rolled over one time.