It’s appropriate that I met my brother Marty Waldrop in Anthony Jett’s motorcycle shop. I remember not being too sure what to think of this short, kind of obnoxious, doppleganger of myself, but his stories and pictures of his recent trip to Big Bend on his BMW 1200GS were enthralling. When I made my own first trip west, it was Marty’s advice that I heeded then, and to which I adhere to this day: “Don’t go looking for gnarly, gnarly will find you.”
But what really drew me to him more than the motorcycles was his heart. Shortly after we met, he formed Circle the City, an outreach where we fed the homeless every Tuesday night for many years. But Marty had something that I didn’t; a level of compassion that I could only aspire to. I remember driving around with Marty on many an icy night seeking out the various homeless camps around Little Rock, and I would hear him praying for people he had not even yet met.
But he was NOT a pushover by any stretch of the imagination. He was a man not to be trifled with, at times so brash and outspoken I couldn’t help but laugh out loud at his sheer audacity. But for all his bravado, he hated one thing above all others: snakes. It is a well known fact that I may have exploited this phobia a bit too vigorously, but if I had a chance to repent of my ways and do things differently, I would not. I like to imagine that he enjoyed his visits with Sneaky Pete, my rubber water moccasin, as much as I did seeing them occur, but I am harassed by doubt.
Marty’s watch is now ended, cut short today after an extended battle with Covid. I have no doubt in my mind that his spiritual legacy will continue with his loyal wife Shelia Waldrop. With things being as they are, I’m sure that I will be unable to pay my final respects at a traditional funeral, but that’s just fine. I plan on having my own service for him this summer, at 11,789′, atop Ophir Pass in Colorado when the snows melt and the Alpine passes open; Marty would love the idea that he had inspired another trip to the Rockies.
I would say “vaya con Dios, Marty”, but advising one such as him to “go with God” would be more than a bit redundant; he needed little advice from me in that regard.
I’ll see you on the other side, mi hermano.