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A good deed observed: a daughter learns kindness
Posted by Steinbeck79, Oct 2, 2010. 1111 views. ID = 3949

A good deed observed

Posted by Steinbeck79, Oct 2, 2010. 1111 views. ID = 3949
This post was written in 1 minutes.
This post has been awarded 4 stars by 1 reader.

The neighborhood was changing. Houses were being sold, driveways repaved, porch lights left on. Suddenly, our family held seniority and my mother was asking my father to park the car behind the house.

One Saturday, late morning, a vagrant found his way to Brixen Court. He zigzagged down the narrow street, hunched over by whatever struggles left him wearing two different shoes and smelling of campfire.

My sister and I, sitting on the newly-mowed lawn, searched for four-leaf clovers as my father lazily brushed a coat of paint on the door frame. The stranger made it to the curb before any one of us noticed him.

“I can help you with that for a few spare dollars.”

Mary looked like she was watching a spider crawl on her pillow.

“I’m nearly finished, but thanks for the offer.” My father bent down and scraped the brush on the side of the paint can.

The man adjusted his drawstring bag and started lumbering up our walkway. I suddenly envisioned our glass door streaked with maroon paint.

My father met him halfway and slowly put out his hand like us kids were taught to do when approaching any dog tied up in front of the supermarket.

“Where are you coming from, sir?”

“Down there.” He didn’t point in any direction, but glanced to the left, toward the park we were never allowed to play at.

I tucked my hands under my knees, thinking about the hobo campouts and inebriated deviants we had been warned of. I thought of the bright flashing lights that more and more infrequently passed by our house toward the park. I thought of the ambulances that often shortly followed. I thought of my mom, right now in the kitchen, spoon feeding my baby brother mashed bananas and listening to the music coming in from the other room. They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.

I became too scared to tighten my pony tail holder that had loosened, and sat frozen as the stranger put his hand on my father’s neck and leaned in. Mary whimpered.

“I’m a hard worker. A sure fine painter, a fine man.”

My father gently pulled the stranger’s hand from his neck and led him toward the porch swing.

“Of that I have no doubt. But who wants to paint on such a beautiful day?” He helped him onto the swing and walked toward the open front door. “Jane, how about another Coke?,” he yelled the question just as he had yelled it 25 minutes ago.

A moment later, my mother stood in the doorway, holding a can of generic cola and nervously smiling at the man sitting on her mother’s day present.

“Hello.” She passed the can to my father. My father passed it to the man. He didn’t look at it until after he took a long drink and wiped his nose on his sleeve.

I considered running inside, past the dirty man, the porch swing, my mother, leaving Mary to fend for herself and the four-leaf clovers to go undiscovered.

As I eyed the door, I noticed my father discreetly pat his back pocket, like he did when we got in line for the movies, or when the collection plate was being passed around at church.

“Now I’ll give you a lift back to the park, but first I think you and I need to get a couple burgers.”

The two men walked to the car.

Copyright 2010 Steinbeck79. All rights reserved. has been granted non-exclusive rights to display this work. For permission to reprint this item, please contact the author.

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This post has been awarded 4 stars by 1 reader.
This post is part of a writing prompt: A Good Deed Part One

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