Thursday, June 07, 2007

Safe Passage

He sits in a lawn chair when the weather gets warm, bright vest on, stop sign twirling at his feet. He stands and greets the kids who come near him, nodding and questioning. And then he walks slowly into the intersection, his hand out behind him until the way is safe when he beckons to the children on scooters, foot, the occasional bicycle. Sometimes a parent waits for that crossing with the family dog, waving and calling, "Have a good day," before returning home or continuing the walk.

He nodded his thanks to me one day, as I stopped farther than most and waited what he must have perceived to be patiently. Some days I might wave, an anonymous passer-by thankful for his role in the life of the community.

On cold days, much of our winter, he waits for the rush in his small blue car that has seen better days, a cup of coffee steaming the windshield, and I imagine talk radio filling the air. His smile is the same, but there's less dawdling, more hurrying, and the parents wave quickly, bundled more tightly.

School's nearly out for the summer. Late the other day, a group of children stood on the sidewalk, calling to him with pen and yearbook, waiting for the beckoning hand to leave an impression in their book.


more cows than people said...

nice, very nice. i relish the snippets you capture for us with words!

Hot Cup Lutheran said...

I can see this picture-perfect in my mind's eye... really you have a gift in writing!

Katherine said...

Thank you for paying attention.

1-4 Grace said...

wow, just wow.
You have bene tagged by me. Go to my blog for June12 and then post your own. ;)

jill said...

You just so perfectly called to mind Mr. Smith, our crossing guard of childhood. That was back in the day before sexual misconduct was an undercurrent buzzing and humming underneath everything, and I fondly remember that this grandfatherly type handed out hugs and pats on the back, looked at our artwork, exclaimed over us as if each of us were a complete delight to him.

Thanks for the memories, and for noticing your "Mr. Smith"!!