An Old Man Gone Away...........
Often he could be found just off the edge of the sidewalk wandering....searching, his white cane giving away the secret of his challenge , and yet doesn't every town have one of these gentle souls in their midsts . What better way to teach a wandering boy how to give away one moment of grace than by speaking softly ;
" Can I help you to the sidewalk , Harold.?", and then a hand on his to guide him away from the traffic noise and back to the curb, ....
"Hunh..... Oh ,yes please."
Harold was blind from a younger age , lived alone in his older years in his own house on a quiet little street next to the elementary school. Although he was always walking the sidewalks and finding his way around town on his own , I can't count the times that he would be seen carrying a grocery bag in one hand , his cane in the other with a look of determination on his old face . A tall man and thin as a rail , he wore Dickies khaki work clothes and always appeared neatly squared away.
I know now that he must have enjoyed his daily walks , maybe a jaunt to the local market just for an excuse to listen to the din of laughter , the yells and screams of the children at recess. Harold could often be seen standing quietly at the little cement bridge listening to the fast flowing water in the brook that flowed near his home. I can still see him there , in my minds eye , slowly wwalking along in his own dignified manner.
Every town has thier signature personalities , their local clowns , Grinch's or even madman , or women , the ugly neighbor that chases the kids away from their back fields just to have something to do. At least in the years that we ourselves claim as being children , we have many people that we will remember for a lifetime, and Harold i will always remember you !
Small towns are simply snapshots , perhaps , of a larger world , and It is these small and tender mercies that are the gist of a boys life , there are huge and very personal lessons of a life , that happen quickly and quietly in small and private situations. Thank you Harold ! For the smallest moments and yet one of the largest lessons of my life.