There is nothing more beautiful than a smile. And I swear this has to be true. It just has to be. There is nothing more warm or inviting than a genuine, wholesome smile.
I have a record of smiles in my memory. I think of them sometimes, like say, when a friend of mine offered me a pair of new blue jeans. He smiled at me in a brotherly way. I had never seen anything like this before. As a matter of fact, I had never truly seen what it means to be charitable until him.
There was a time when I was on a basketball team. Perhaps you might remember this. I know I’ve told you about this before so I will spare some of the details and stick to the point.
I was the little skinny kid that could hardly reach the basket when I took a shot remember?
I was smaller than everyone. I was uncoordinated and uncomfortable at my best. I was also different in ways that made this team difficult for me. I was a stranger to the other kids on the team. Or, maybe the other kids were strangers to me. Either way, they all knew each other but they didn’t know me. They were all friends and me, I was this little skinny kid that rode the bench and went to a different school.
Today, my Mom would wait to the very minute after an acceptable hour because she didn’t want to call too early. She would tell me “Happy Birthday.” Then Mom would tell me how she remembers the day I was born.
The tide moved in early to show the face of an old memory. I
feel the sands surrounding my footsteps, and moving closer to the edge of an
ocean, I am me between the land and sea, hopeful as ever, dreaming, thinking of
the time I was a small boy and placed my footsteps in the path of my Old Man.
I believe in all fairness, I should follow up with my previous thought about my Mother and tell you a little more about my Father.
Before I begin, those that have followed along and those who’ve know be from before and know me up until now will also know that each time I refer to my Father, I refer to him as The Old Man.
Before going forward, I think it would be best for me to explain where I learned what it means to be a strong woman.
Of course, as a man, my ability to understand what it means to be a woman is extremely limited. However, I can say that I was raised with strong role models. Above all, Mom was the strongest.
I think of you now and I am young. I am a boy again, like I was on the piers in Shinecock canal in November, cold as ever, and bundled up in a big blue coat with mittens and a pull-over hat that was knitted by my Grandmother. The sky was gray and the docks were quiet. I sat there shivering from the cold but I did not complain. I watched the end of my fishing rod, (just like you told me to) and hoped a fish would swim along and take my bait.
I could have sat that way for hours and not caught a thing and the day would still be perfect. I could have lived there in fact, exactly as it was, cold and gray and quiet, shivering.