A man beckoned from the not-so-pretty porch of a home that has seen better days, so I stopped and went halfway up his walk: "Good morning!"
He grunted and flicked his cigarette into a rusted bucket at his feet. "Nothin' good 'bout winter comin'. But that's not why I stopped ye."
"Oh. Do you need help with something?"
"Nope. Got my chair and my smokes and my cat. I'm good. I wanted to talk to you about yer boys."
"Yer boys got red hair, don't they? And they wheel 'round here some nights, hootin' and hollerin' on their bikes and that stupid little plastic thing..."
|Luke on his "stupid little plastic thing..."|
"It's a Big Wheel," I said, apologetically. "I'm sorry they've bothered you with their noise. They get noisy when they're excited."
He waved a huge hand, dismissively, and then spat. " Kids're having fun, doing what kids do. I don't mind."
"Oh...well....good. I'm glad."
"It's just that your kids - they wave to me every time they see me and sometimes they go 'round four or five times, ye know? And every time, they smile and wave like they've never seen me before and they're happy to. See me."
I blinked and then smiled. "They're pretty friendly kids."
"Most folks don't look my way at all. Your kids...they smile like I'm Santa Claus or something'. I like it."
"I'm glad. Wouldn't it be grand if everyone felt like Santa Claus every day? How'd you know the boys are mine?"
"Well first off, I seen you with 'em, walking here and there. I mind my own business, but I see lots. And when I called you over here just now? You smiled at me just like they do. They teach you that?"
I grinned then and laughed, completely smitten. "They sure did!"
He grinned back. "They did good."