Essay

My Breakfast with Tom Metzger

My Breakfast with Tom Metzger

Tom Metzger is dead, and I am relieved.

 

But memories of Tom rumble through the orderly rows of avocado and citrus trees in my Southern California town, stirring up the dirt of our racist history.

 

When Fallbrook became my home thirty years ago, I dutifully learned its two monikers: Avocado Capital of the World and Fallbrook the Friendly Village. Both were debatable, given the persistent transformation of groves to tract housing, and Tom Metzger’s presence in town.

 

Back then, Tom was a Fallbrook fixture. A short and stout strutter, he was known for his TV repair skills, his toupee, and a black Stetson and cowboy boots that gave him an extra few inches. He was also known for identifying as a racial separatist, which, according to him, was not at all hateful.
 

“I don’t hate anyone,” he’d say.