Sunday, December 16, 2007

Heroes


I know, I know you're waiting to hear about Homefront Hero Day. I will, I'll tell you about it, but honestly, I have better things to talk about than myself, right now. Something's pressing.

In my last post, I noted that I was mucking out to clear the snow off of Mother's driveway.

Lo, when I pulled up, what did I find, but one Tim Sands, halfway done with the job.

Tim Sands.

A Hero in our family.

He began delivering my mother's newspaper 1 year after my father died. He was 11 years old in 2002, dropping off The News Gazette, and throwing out a few kind words to a bit-lost widow whose life had rotated around raising children.

My mother didn't just run a daycare in her home. Every single kid that came into her life was her son or daughter. Young parents finding better jobs and moving on was a source of grief in our household, a loved one moving on, and out of, our lives. Babies that I bounced on my hip as a kid now have babies....and they still keep in touch with my mother.

Anyway, in 2002, Mom was retired. She did then, as she does now, miss kids in her household. One, 11 years old, stopped by every day, with a kind word.

And eventually, an offer to help her. Mow the yard. Rake the leaves. The kid was handy. As he turned 12, 13, he'd return to talk, and to visit. One panel of the fence in the back yard had been busted through by neighbor kids. He could fix that. He could hang a new light in the kitchen.

I have a vague recollection of his running a saw in the driveway, while my mother ran her mouth, and his gentle teasing suggesting she go back in the house for awhile, lest he chop off a thumb.

I have a strong recollection of my first sighting of him, riding his bike to the back door of Mom's house, and handing her the newspaper. "I love you," she told him, and he yelled out "I love you too," as he rode away.

Tim does not deliver my mother's newspaper anymore. He has a bigger and better job, at a local grocery store.

And yet I joined him, this morning, in my mother's driveway. "When it snows like this, I always head to Eleanor's first!" he told me.

We worked together and talked easily as we finished up the driveway. He graduates in '09. My son Brian, in Iraq. How is Teri, he wants to know, and what do I do for a living. We invent, in our minds, a giant hairdryer that could just melt this snow off the driveway, and he knows the kind of power and coils it would take to do just that: It would definitely zap out the power in the house. He wants to be an Electrical Engineer, and will start his education at our community college. It's a competitive field; he hopes he can hold it together. Isn't this good exercise?!!

I invited him to lunch when he was done. Ah, he can't, he had to work at 1:00. "What are you doing?" he yells suddenly. He turned back around to explain: his little brother and sister were in the van parked in front of Mom's house. He figured he'd set them up with Gameboys, while he got a little work done. I hadn't noticed them, through smoked glass windows.

When we'd finished up the driveway, his section being, of course, tres cleaner than mine, I ran for my camera. Before he knew I had it, I took this picture, of him leaving a message for my Mom:

This kid, he takes my breath away. I don't say this lightly: He's an angel walking the earth.

When you meet an Angel, Walking the Earth...well...you should...just....write about him or something.

Tim Sands.

Remember that name, folks.

I have faith that you'll hear it again, in bigger and better forums than my lil' ol' blog.

And won't we say we knew him when.

Mark my words.

14 comments:

  1. Marinemom9:43 PM

    Doesn't it just warm your heart?

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  2. :-) It does, even in this Midwestern bluster

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  3. That is the best story I've read in ages.

    Now get your butt back in bed.

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  4. People like Tim (and you!) make me believe the world is well worth living in. (((((lufyu)))))

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  5. stfarmer7:50 AM

    This story restores my faith in generation me. I'm glad you're mom has somebody looking out for her.

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  6. It's so nice to hear the stories about young people who honestly care and make a difference. Of course, it saddens me that we're surprised by those stories because they're not the norm.

    Go have some cocoa and cold medicine! And wrap yourself up in a big fluffy comforter.

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  7. I'm crying...at work...shame on you. Being the mother of a son, as you know, makes these stories even sweeter. Sweet, sweet boys.

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  8. So young to be so ... strong, giving, loving, aware, alive, compassionate, insert your own adjective here.

    Thanks for this. And thanks to him. Tim Sands.

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  9. bzybby13:22 PM

    Why don't we hear more about the good kids. It seems the news is always about a kid gone bad. I don't know Tim but I think I am in love (Grandmotherly love that is)

    Joanne

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  10. Tim Sands is an amazing young man! Even his smile brightens my day and warms my heart. What a great guy.

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  11. I am tagging you to 7 facts about yourself... come on over to my blog.

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  12. MizLiz11:27 AM

    Lovely. Simply lovely. Thanks for the inspiration!

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  13. Sweet. Renews the faith.

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