A Short Walk

When I was a boy my family and I lived in my Grandmaís old house by the woods. Along one side of it ran a river that separated us from the main road. The only way over the water was across an old, wooden, swinging bridge. Along the other side of it ran a set of railroad tracks. My Dad had taught me early on to always listen for the sound of the coming trains and to get off the tracks fast when I did. They only ran by the house a few times a day, however, so the rest of the time I could walk along the quiet, deserted tracks as much as I wanted.

I was surprised one day then to find another person walking down the tracks as well. He was a tall man dressed in orange coveralls. He had a bright smile and a cheerful way about him. I ran right over and started talking to him. I donít remember what we talked about but I will never forget how nice he was and how happy he seemed to talk to a boy only 5 years old. Our meeting lasted only a few minutes before I headed back to my home and he continued on his way. About an hour later I was startled to see two state policemen come running across the swinging bridge to our house. Their serious expressions, uniforms, and guns scared me far more than the gentle traveler had. He was the one they were after, though. It appeared my short walk had been with an escaped prisoner. It was hard to believe because he had been so kind.

Somewhere along the rest of my walk down lifeís tracks I lost that childhood wisdom. I learned to judge people by the prison clothes they wore and not by the smiles on their faces. I learned to stereotype and to hate and it has taken me a long time to unlearn it again and find my way back to love. I still havenít quite made it back to that boyís goodness and trust but I am working on it. I heard that the police later recaptured the kindhearted prisoner and fellow Child of God who brightened my day back then. Where ever he is today, I wish him only love and joy.

~ Joseph J. Mazzella ~


[ by: Joseph J. Mazzella Copyright © 2008 (joecool@wirefire.com) -- submitted by: Joseph Mazzella ]

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