I miss my friend Frank. He wandered around here in Zephyrhills, riding the bus from place to place, sometimes walking for miles to get to where he needed to go. Frank had his set places to visit and one of them was my house.
Frank hung out at the bus shelter at the Walmart a lot, the usual place he could be found, when he didn’t mind being found. He would drink his beer and smoke cigarettes sitting inside the glass and metal enclosure never caring about being seen by civilian or by law enforcement at all.
He always had something to say about someone, although it was generally not in a complimentary venue and more of a complaint about what had been done against him personally.
Frank would go to the same places like clockwork and always visited me at home just to sit and talk about what was on his mind and in his heart at the moment. A lot of times he cried when something disturbed him that he was talking about but he always pretended something was in his eye.
A shopping bag or two was his usual accompaniment and most of the time he sported a left-handed putter that someone had given to him and he brandished it Don Quixote-like, braving unseen foe that were a product of his conversations. A bottle of gin and a 4-pack of tall boys were a staple in his bag, other than that, all he requested of me on his visits was a glass of ice and to use the bathroom.
I didn’t mind him visiting and having one or two of his cocktails with the understanding that he was not to make a nuisance of himself and being obnoxious was prohibited.
When I hadn’t heard from Frank in a few days and was given different stories about where and how he was I began to wonder if he was doing alright. I called and only went to voice mail on his government provided phone, so I left a message.
A week went by with no reply, which was unusual because we are friends and he always has returned my calls. When I place the call again, someone unfamiliar to me answered and handed the phone to Roland, another friend of Frank’s, who told me briefly Frank had passed away; that he fell in front to the Amscot and when EMT arrived, took him to the hospital and they were not able to revive him.
February 6, 2014 Frank Stockmeister, 69 years old, a retired plumber and Veteran passed away and he will be missed.
My homeless friend who found a place here and there, spent the night at several places around town and stopped in to have a drink at my house once in a while will be missed by me. He was loved.
He leaned on his golf club and showed his injured finger to the camera, his shopping bag resting atop of the television. Frank visited infrequently and always brought his vodka or gin along with him.
Frank visiting with me
He sat down to tell me the tales of his recent adventures and always talking about his planned journey back home to New York the entire time he visited.
The bus stop shelter
Whenever Franklin was needed to be found, a short ride to the Walmart in Zephyrhills was the usual spot to locate him, standing inside the shelter and chatting up anyone and everyone present.