(c) Bob Perrin
When I first Met Amill Smith, he was standing at the top of the off ramp from Interstate 265 in New Albany Indiana. His hair was pure white and he looked to be about eighty or so, but you'd never guess his age by talking to him. He was dressed in a dirty white shirt and blue jeans held up by suspenders. A kinda thin man with a strong face holding up a sign that read:
Will work for food
Matthew, chapter 25 verse 31 to 46
It was kinda scrawled on a piece of cardboard. with a piece of white chalk. Now, I don't normally make a habit of stopping for every destitute soul I see on the side of the road, but this time was different. This old guy was standing out there in ninety degree heat and I just felt compelled for some reason to stop. Maybe the fact that he had white hair and was so old and it was so hot had something to do with it, To tell you the truth I just don't know. I was driving in the other direction when I saw him and I drove about two exits past him before my heart caught up with me. I just had to turn around.
I took twenty dollars and my business card and held it in my hand until I got close to him and pulled off to the side of the off ramp. When he walked over to the car, I opened the door and he said "howdy, my name is Amill Smith A,M,I, double "L" Smith and you'll never see another name like that anywhere. I got the only one out there". I said "I'm pleased to meet you sir, where do you live?" Amill explained he lived in Louisville and said " I'm a tryin' to git some food for the house". I handed him the twenty dollars and tried to put him at ease so I could talk to him.
I explained that I was a writer and I was curious about how he came to be standing on the freeway off ramp so far away from his home. He said he sometimes came up to Indiana "cause I got some people up here who sometimes give me a little work" I said I understood, and wished him luck. I asked him to give me a call if he had some time to talk to me and gave him my business card. He shook my hand with a firm grip and said "I'm not lazy now, I can work for the money. I told him maybe we could work something out and got back in my car. Amill yelled at me to read Matthew 25, verse 31 to 40. I said "ok I will" and I drove off. When I turned the car around to head back the other way, Amill was gone.
When I got home I did as Amill had asked me to do and read the passage. I'm not a bible kinda person, but it seemed important to Amill Smith so I read it anyway.
By the way,
In case you hadn't already figured it out, Amill was a mill smith when he could work, hence the name "Amill Smith".....