Around The Corner

I live in a pretty small West Texas town.  Because of its size (less than 30,000 people), it is highly integrated.  Not a lot of new construction goes on here, so homes/neighborhoods are recycled fairly well (my parents made a living out of buying condemned homes and renovating them for rental property).

Because of this integration, I live on a fairly nice and quiet street that sits sandwiched between a cliff and a bad neighborhood.  Just around the corner, there are homes that each have a horror story from the previous 10 years (the guy that beat his elderly mother to death, the crackhouses, the kids that bludgeoned the 12 year old to death with a hammer, etc).  When I drive by these homes on my way to my own house, I notice that frequently there are new tenants selling whatever it is they are selling out of those homes.  A “Who’s Who” of the local Police Blotter.

Today, however, something changed.  Among those houses is a family that has lived there for quite a long time.  The husband is a trucker, the wife, who is rather eccentric, owns a beauty salon.  They have a son, a fairly severely mentally retarded boy of abnormally large size.  He could literally be a perennial all-pro in the NFL with a skeleton like that.  I would guess that he is in his mid 20’s…maybe a little older.

Often, I will see him out front with his mother or father visiting with relatives who have stopped by.  Or sitting in the front seat of the hot rod that stays pent up in the garage, pretending to be racing.  Or riding the old riding lawn mower around the rather large (1/4 acre) yard (nothing grows, he just likes to ride around).

But today he has a new friend.  A new family moved in across the street.  This time, it isn’t some young punk looking for cheap rent.  This time it is an older, retired couple looking for cheap rent.

When I was going to the store I noticed that the boy was across the street, visiting with this new family while they worked on a car (the car alarm seemed to be stuck on the old mans truck).  It warmed my heart to see that there were now going to be some neighbors that might show this boy some compassion and fairness.  His mom and dad work a lot, and it leaves him lonely (which he may or may not enjoy…I cannot pretend to know).

When I returned from the store, however, the boy was sitting cross legged on the ground, facing the old man.  The old man was sitting on the tailgate of his pickup, telling stories.  Each of them seemed to be completely mired in the moment, enjoying the sharing of whatever tales the old man was weaving for the excited young man with an even younger mans mind.

As I drove by, the younger man never even looked up at me.  He was completely enthralled with whatever the old man was telling him.  In the three years I have lived here, I have seen that kid upwards of 200 times.  Not once have I seen him smile.  But he was sitting there, looking into that old mans face with the toothiest, biggest grin I have ever seen on anyone besides Mick Jagger, or maybe Carly Simon.

The old man took a moment to acknowledge me with a small wave as I passed by.  And in that moment I was reminded of just what it is that is dear to me in this life.

It is those little moments.  They happen so randomly.  Just out of nowhere…but if you catch them they can teach you a lifetime of lessons.  I found this one just around the corner.

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4 Responses to “Around The Corner”

  1. That was a great story, very well told.

    • Thank you. 🙂

      Sometimes little moments have deep meaning to me. I think metaphorically, and see some lessons in almost everything that happens.

      Of course, the trick is in taking the lessons you see to the next step. 😀

      Great to have you swing by.

  2. Very wonderful story indeed. Thanks for sharing.

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