Saturday, March 10, 2012

Tex Part I

Now, there’s this kid in the neighborhood whom I adore because, not only does he seem like he’s a long lost member of the Little Rascals Gang, but he reminds me a great deal of my darling nephew.  I suspect that like my nephew, he has Asperger’s, but unlike my nephew, I don’t think that he has been tested or diagnosed, so he’s missing out on the educational and behavioral assistance that he can receive from that diagnosis.  Eric and I have become watchful of this kid, and we go out of our way to ask him how his day is going, or to let him help us do yard work. 

The first time I met this kid was when my friend Tami and I were having after-work wine and snacks on the porch about a year ago.  I saw him coming our way from a fair piece down the street.  He had probably smelled the pimento-stuffed olives and cheddar cheese from a mile away, as growing kids are wont to do with food.  As he approached, his eyes were focused on the food platter.  He hopped up on one of our pine stumps (this was the phase between pine removal and stump grinding) and asked, with his eyes locked on the Cabot Vermont Cheddar, “Whatchall got there?”  I was thinking to myself, “Now look here fella, we don’t want no trouble outta you…”, but instead I said, “We’re having adult snacks and beverages and conversation.”  He cocked his head to one side, “Well, can I have some?”  My mind toyed with the idea of giving him one olive and one square of cheese, but then I imagined word of my feeding of children getting out amongst the kids of the neighborhood (I had experienced their Blitzkrieg the winter before when I had baked up some cookies at Christmas), so I thought better of it.  I replied in as kind, yet stern a voice, “No, now, you best move along.  Like I said, these are adult snacks and beverages, so, this is a no-kid zone right now.”  He did move along, glancing back over his shoulder a few times as if to give me a chance to take back what I said.  I worried that I had hurt his feelings…

That was not the case.  His feelings were not hurt in the least, and he kept coming around.  Often.  And the more he kept coming around, the more I learned about his personality and his personal life.  He has a strong Southern drawl and a voice that goes up and down with lots of emphasis and, in some cases, indignation.  He goes through growth spurts that come so often, he’ll walk up to you in pants that fit, but walk away in high-waters.  He’s got a lot of pride and bravado, and he sometimes stretches the truth.  He knows more about the Alabama Crimson Tide than my own momma and Tom Banks, III combined (which is saying a lot), and is determined to play football for them one day. He lives with his grandparents here in the neighborhood, ‘cause his momma lives in Texas.  After one of the times that he went to visit her, I began to call him Tex.  He really liked that for some reason, so I still call him that to this day.  You can tell by looking at him what kind of mood he’s in; if he’s swinging a stick and walking with his head down, beware. But know that his mood can change really quickly if you just ask him how his day was, and then just let him talk. 


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