Thursday, June 02, 2005

Be Kind To Little People!

Always be kind to small children. Sometimes they'll remember it for the rest of their lives. Today while riding my bike around Sloan's Lake, a little blonde girl with a crooked helmet on, riding a small bicycle with training wheels, smiled and said a bright hello to me as I slowly rode past her on my mountain bike. Of course, I smiled back at her, waived and said hello also. I then began to think as I rode on along, about how children sometimes remember small, innocuous details from their childhood well on into their adult years. I know this because it was and is the case for myself as well.

When I was a small child, there lived in our neighborhood a somewhat unusual man who I would see from time to time walking up and down our street (as I believe he lived further on down our block, or perhaps the next). He was unusual for a number of reasons: he was somewhat short of stature for an adult, he was black (and there were not many black people in our neighborhood), and he was crippled. He dragged one crooked leg as he walked along, and one of his arms seemed to be always twisted and turned inward, so that his hand and palm on this arm was turned in toward his face most of the time. He also used to talk to himself, occasionally somewhat loudly. I'd seen him around many times as a young child, but what I most remember about him was the time when my mother, myself, and my younger brother were walking to a nearby store in the neighborhood. It just so happened that as we approached the crosswalk in the street, this relatively young man was coming from the opposite direction. When he saw us, he loped rapidly into the street, stopped traffic (maybe one or two cars) by putting out his hand in the stop motion, and then waved us through the crosswalk as he held up the traffic. I was very impressed, and I believe that I kept turning around to look at him as he waved at us, and then began to proceed along his way, dragging that one crooked leg down the street toward his home.

Years later, as a man no longer so young, and working on a second college degree, there was a day when I saw this man again as I was doing delivery work for a medical supply company in order to make ends meet. As I wheeled my supplies into the middle of yet another medical clinic within the state hospital, there sat a black man amongst several other indigent individuals, seeking medical assistance, or waiting for their periodical exams and visits. It was the same man, now more aged, and with the same recognizable shape of hair, which was now all white. How I wanted to run to him, and tell him that I remembered him, and what he had done, and that I had never forgotten! But, I am a man of reserve and composed behaviour, a man who calculates risk, perhaps too much, and so I calmly, or seemingly so, wheeled my stack of goods through the room, and to the back where they belonged. I left the way I had come in, taking one last look at the man, who had never really noticed me, although he seemed as animated as ever, engaging those around him with his latest adventures. I never thought I'd see this man again, who had always stayed in my young mind, but for some reason, I was allowed to see him one more time, now as an old man, before he leaves this world forever. It was a blessing.


Blogger willowtree said...

That was a great entry, I really enjoyed reading it.

10:29 PM  
Blogger willowtree said...

I agree with you about Norah Jones being in the same breath as the greats one day, therefore I will try to get some Sara Vaughn and listen to her. I have heard of her, I've probably even heard her, but, I havent listened to her as yet. I loved Ella Fitzgerald's voice though. Wow. just breathtaking.
Thanks for the heads up.

5:42 AM  

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