Angel in Sneakers

I was sitting in a quiet corner at the very same McDonald’s out on Macon Road that I used to dash over to during my tenure as a student at Columbus High. Gosh, that was  such a long-ago yesterday. I could have gone to the  library, which is also on Macon Road, but for all its finery, I don’t like the new library as much as I did the old W.C. Bradley.  Ease of access was better at the old Bradley. At the new library you have to hike half-a-mile to reach its ostentatious rotunda. (Just realized that ostentatious sounds a lot like Osteen, and there’s poetry embedded in that, did you notice?)

I digress.

So there I was, sitting by my lonesome, working, when all of a sudden someone grabbed me around my neck and declared, “I want to kiss you.”

It wasn’t anyone I knew.

Just a wiry sprite that seemingly appeared out of nowhere.

“What’s your name?” I asked.


“How old are you Ricardo?” I quickly scanned the room looking for any sign of a parent.

“I’m four,” he said, holding up the appropriate number of fingers in validation.

He nuzzled up next to me.

“Whad chew doin’?”


He reached for my camera.

“You wanna take a picture?” I asked.

“Yea,” he replied.

“Okay,” I said, “Smile big.”

The smiling part came easy for Ricardo.

It was keeping his eyes open he seemed to struggle with.

We took, oh, about a dozen photos, eight of them with Ricardo’s eyes shut.

Ricardo climbed into the seat beside me — the better to see the computer with.

He told me he has four siblings. His grandmother was sitting down at the other end of the dining area.  She and some other church ladies were having a meal together. They all appeared perfectly comfortable with Ricardo’s random disappearances.

He was like the hug fairy — lurking about the fast food joint, seeking out that one individual in need of an embrace.

Wouldn’t it seem that if a 4-year old can figure all that out, we ought to be doing the same? Seeking to bring some small measure of happiness and delight to the people around us — whether we know them or not.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • What a sweetie pie — and I hope he is always lucky enough to sneak up on angels!

  • How often we learn from our children…They can teach us so much about loving without the veil of fear that we adults build up.

  • That’s so sweet! Now every time I try pulling that stunt I end up getting a slap across the face.

  • John in PDX

    Hey Gary, that happens to me too but it’s from my wife.

    • Karen Spears Zacharias

      Y’all crack me up…

  • Diane

    I had another one of those ONE WORD responses, but now I’ve wised up and knew it wouldn’t fly so here goes…..”PRECIOUS” was what came to mind!

  • Rose Blackwell

    what a beautiful story ,I wish we could all be that innocent to show love …