Chocolate, Guppies, and Me
Summers, I take my ten-year-old swimming at the Sam Pannell Community Center as often as possible. It’s a wonderful place with access for those in wheel chairs, wading pools, islands, and a big water slide.
Usually there are so many little children of color there, the pool looks like a big bowl of guppies with a few koi tossed in.
Being a Multi-tasking Goddess, I usually work while my kid does guppy stuff. Other parents wait too; some even join in the fun and swim with the little fishies.
We had been there a little over an hour when a boy about 8-years-old came and stood in front of me. I looked up.
“May, I have a dollar, please?” he asked.
“What do you want the dollar for, baby?” Black women of a certain age love to call young people “baby.” I am of a certain age.
“To get something at the snack bar,” he said.
“Is it open?”
He nodded with a certain solemnity.
I reached in my purse and gave him a dollar. He smiled, thanked me, and speed-walked away (there’s no running—and the life guards don’t play.)
Why had that little boy come to me? I looked around. I was the only one there in full grandma mufti—gray hair, glasses, comfortable, loose fitting clothes.
I like to think I have a kindly face. I like to think the little boy knew instinctively that the village is still intact and he can still count on an elder being there when he needs one.
He was a cute, little, chocolate kid, with puppy dog eyes. Maybe he worked me. That’s okay, too. It’s hard out there for a kid. And besides, I got just as much out of our interaction as he did. He got a dollar and I got to be grandma for a moment to a cute, little chocolate kid, with puppy dog eyes.
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