I looked up from watering my roses to see the dirtiest kid ever running in my direction barefoot and wearing only overalls carrying a fishing pole.
I like kids. No, really, I do. Especially clean, funny kids. At that moment he was neither to me.
"Lady?" I almost didn't answer, but I'm afraid of being the single crazy cat lady in the neighborhood that makes all the children afraid so.....
"Hey, what's up?"
"Lady, do you have any worms?"
"Worms?" I asked borderline condescendingly.
No person child or adult has ever looked at me like he did. His face twisted into this look like adults were just the saddest people and he flat felt sorry for them.
I jumped back as he said at 10 level loud, "WORMS! FOR FISHIN! WORMS!"
It took me a minute to remember he was a minor and beating him up would probably make me a bad person.
"Oh," I said stepping back, "no, sorry, I don't."
Exasperated, he put down his fishing pole and folded his arms across some unknown slime on his too big overalls. He got uncomfortably close to me before asking for real condescendingly, "do you THINK you could help me FIND some?"
I looked at my manicured fingernails and back at the at this point scary little person and heard myself say, "Um, ok?"
So, we dug around in the dirt with great purpose and found a few worms. It was, perhaps, the best way I've spent 10 minutes lately. He picked up his fishing pole, stuck the worms in his front pocket and hopped off down the road stopping only to stomp in a puddle along the way.
I sat on my front step and smiled. I prayed for that little boy that he would always have childlike faith and never forget to jump in puddles. I prayed that whenever he needed help, someone would be there - even if it was just to find a little bait for a fishin trip.
And I prayed he would catch a fish because I like to think the smile on a child's face brings one to God's, too.