It’s early, I’m walking, too tired from working a long day to run, the crisp air smacking me awake, when up ahead I see, what to my strained eyes, looks like a midget (yeah I know that’s politically incorrect but don’t care at the moment, but not to worry, will don that hair shirt shortly).
When my vision clears, Tom Thumb turns into a boy of 7 with two small dogs, crouching, picking up poop like a pro.
The distributors are a Toy Chow that could fit in your pocket, and a Boston Bulldog not much bigger. They pop over with interest as I approach.
The kid, in white camp shorts and a striped navy jersey, a Beatle/Kennedyesque haircut gracing a mini, noble head, looks up when I say, ‘Hi, really love your two doggies,” who are now sniffing me like a hamburger patty.
He looks at me, the…don’t talk to strangers, mantra no doubt, passing through his mind, deciding I was about as threatening as that bag of poop he’s holding, irritating at best, and says, ‘Hi.”
I marvel at his parents sending him out to walk their dogs seeming quite fine and capable, I of course thinking, Wasps sleeping off another cocktail hour, but then kinder thoughts prevail…why not give him a little responsibility, it’s good for him.
“What are their names?” I say, petting the Chow who looks better than I do at 6 in the morning, his fur combed in a Liberace pompadour.
He mulls the question over as he backpedals to the trashcan.
“Harry and Lucy.”
Are they yours, family dogs?” Now I’m Kathie Lee Gifford, interviewing, without a bra.
He doesn’t answer, more because he seems stumped rather than rude.
“Well, let me just say, you’re doin a great job.”
This kid, with eyes like walnuts bashfully blinking back at me, smiles and says,
“Thank you,” before turning the corner.
Why was this the best story of the week? Because his sweetness offset all the sadness I’ve been mired in…his youth, his innocence.
He gleamed of hope and better days to come when rather than grief, hearts will brim with only tender memories, the way God graced it to be.