I lost my Grandfather (Papa) when I was almost four years old. He was a man of many talents. He favored me since I was born one week after he lost his son, Franklin. I loved him dearly. My Mother told me after his death, I was very upset with God. As the story goes I made my way one door up from my Grandfather's house to see a neighbor, Mr. Saunders. Now let me describe Mr. Saunders. He was a retired railroad man. He had white hair that stood straight up and looked like a bush! He was gruff and did not shave most days. He had lost a leg in a railroad accident. He coughed non-stop and would spit in a tissue every few minutes. His dress was a housecoat and one house shoe and he smelled like Vick's salve. I am sure Mr. Saunders would be less than appealing to most children. I liked him!
He sat in a swing on his front porch most days. His wife would come out and keep an eye on him taking him in when it became too hot. My Mother said I told him my Papa died and I ask him if he would be my new Papa. He said yes. So, I spent many days with Mr. Saunders, swinging, not talking, just enjoying being together. When I was older, my Mother told me in his younger days,
Mr. Saunders drank, and would beat his wife and his children. He had changed his ways, and had stopped drinking.
In my mind I still see Mr. Saunders swinging and that little girl running up the walk to greet him. I know God blessed me with a friend in my time of need, I think Mr. Saunders felt the same way. I hope his heart was softened by a little child that loved him.
God Bless you Mr Saunders.