Saturday, January 12, 2019


Through my grandson I’ve met a 10 year old boy in my neighborhood. His name is, well let’s call him Jimmy. He is one of the politest kids I’ve met and I’m talking over a lifetime of children. Over the last so many months I’ve observed this polite child and how considerate he is in almost extraordinary ways. Today he basically watched over my grandson for hours as he and the other kids played on the street. He looked me in the eye and assured me he would make sure my grandson was safe. I took him for his word.

My great friend and fellow Vietnam Veteran Ren Fitts gave me a VHS camera with all the accouterments and it was in my garage when Jimmy came up the driveway pushing his bike. I noted both tires were thread-bare and I commented on it. In the most adult manner, he politely explained to me that he “did indeed need new tires, but at this present time, my dad is not financially able to actually replace them… but, if you would just air up the tire, sir, it will be good for 3 days.” It’s important to note he is either an Academy Award nominee, or totally without guile.

In my heart I wanted to immediately replace those tubes and tires, well remembering how it was when I rode that iron horse and how many soda bottles I had to redeem to get the money for new rubber. Replacing a boy’s tires and tube in 2019 could be considered a pervert crime of some sorts and as bad as I want to help, I couldn’t. That’s his parent’s job… but I do have something I may can donate toward this young boys future. (Please excuse my Texan)

The day I met Jimmy he revealed that he had written a number of “stories” and did I want to read them? Of course I did and I explained that some regard me as a writer. He rode off on his bike only to return with an 8X11 binder with about 5 multi-sheet drawings with captions. It was his vision and he wanted to share it… with me. Heck yes I was interested. I gave him a very encouraging nerdish review of his work and he seemed pleased.

My first impression of the boy was he was so polite, he simply must be an abused child.

I was wrong.

It turns out he lost his mother 2 years ago and is damaged goods. He told me he still has nightmares but “has learned to handle it.”

“What is that Mr. Marshall?”

“It is out-dated technology, Jimmy, but is really cool. It’s a VHS camera and all the trappings. It’s yours if you want it…” The plastic box before him had a shoulder-mount large VHS Camera and I showed him how you mounted it up high by his head. His eyes were like saucers as his brain processed what was before him. With his interest in stories and writing, I felt like I was sowing a seed, much like handing a guitar to a 10 year old Jimi Hendrix.

Jimmy took possession of the camera and came back and asked permission to supervise my grandson on the next street over. They were going to stage a water-balloon fight and he promised me all would be okay. I gave him my blessing and the two boys rode off to do what kids on bikes do… much like my brothers and I did 50 years ago.

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