Marcello came over to the table as we were ordering espressos and cappuccinos to say hello. He usually does, Marcello's Pizza is one of those family owned places where you go and actually talk to the family. Usually, he can only get away for a few minutes before the door opens and another friendly face charges up to shake his hand. Hardly a person comes in who can't be considered a local. Tonight, though, it was near closing when he came and took the seat across from our table. On a similar night some time ago, he had recounted some of his days living in Europe. Which, to us, having lived relatively quiet lives, was impressive enough. But when tonight he added an account of his days in Lebanon, we were floored. Apparently, during the 70's, he had fought as part of a Catholic militia, his brother was kidnapped, and his mother wounded. His take on the whole matter: "it was fun so long as we were just using AK-47's, but when they started with rockets and real artillery, I had to get the hell out of there." Thus the reason he eventually ended up in the U.S., asking for political asylum. Incredible! I now have to add Marcello to my hall of fame. He sits with the guy I know who flew drugs out of Columbia for years often landing in the jungle without lights, and spent more than a few of those nights in rat infested jails.
Ok, so I'll admit I'm a sucker for a story, and there is always the chance that some of my hall-of-famers were less than candid in relaying their tales, but in the end, who really cares so long as it's a good story? Life has so much more potential when you believe you live among freedom fighters.