Because Raf and I do not drink soft drinks anymore, we treat ourselves once a week to a handmade root beer and a handmade Italian cream soda at Jitter Beans. Almost every week, as we sit and sip, we see skateboarders downtown bogging up traffic and, in general, making nuisances of themselves.
I really don’t know if they have caused any accidents, but an ordinance is an ordinance. I think if we take care of the small crimes and misdemeanors, the larger things will probably take care of themselves.
But back to my little guy on the bike. He reminded me of times gone by. Of kids riding bicycles all over the place as they went with friends to play outside. And, while he was not barefoot, but was wearing sturdy shoes, a poem by John Greenleaf Whittier (1833-1908) came to mind. Here is the first verse:
• • •
Blessings on thee, little man,
Barefoot boy, with cheek of tan!
With thy turned-up pantaloons,
And thy merry whistled tunes;
With thy red lip, redder still
Kissed by strawberries on the hill;
With the sunshine on thy face,
Through thy torn brim’s jaunty grace;
From my heart I give thee joy,—
I was once a barefoot boy!
Prince thou art,—the grown-up man
Only is republican.
Let the million-dollared ride!
Barefoot, trudging at his side,
Thou hast more than he can buy
In the reach of ear and eye,—
Outward sunshine, inward joy:
Blessings on thee, barefoot boy!