The Candy Man can

You never know who you will bump into when you venture out. Last weekend I met the FIRST black fireman of Rapid City, SD — been there since the 70s. He flagged me down at a gas station because he saw my Texas plates — where he’s from originally.

His name is Stanley “Mr. Candy Man” Kinnard. He told me I had to put that in there. He was with his teenage son who just smiled because this is the kind of thing his dad just does. When I asked Stanley what his name meant, he said to guess and I of course referenced Sammy Davis, Jr.’s song (the correct assumption). I admitted that, in today’s times, folks assume that means dope dealer. He agreed.

This man can talk. And mostly he told me about how he often threw block parties to give families safe things to do together and how he tried to mend fences between people — gangs even. As we were standing there talking, several people honked at him as they drove by — many of them were just kids when he first met them.

He invited me back to play dominoes and although I was tempted, I had plans for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. I told him I would post him up on the internet and gave him my card. Maybe I’ll take him up on dominoes before I go.

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