more lion cubPosted: May 24, 2012
One more story about little Ricky, the lion cub. He bounced from place to place and over the four years or so I visited him he had a stint in the projects in a foster home. This was the sleep in the bathtub in case of stray bullets at night projects, and I made sure to visit him in the morning and return him in the early afternoon. It was no hero business, I was scared when I went there, but I had a couple of years with him, and there was nobody else.
We would go simple places. I later learned that most poor inner city kids never had been
out of their own neighborhood, never visited a museum, never seen the lake the city is famous for.
After one outing, now 9 year old Ricky and I am driving back in my car. He perches on the seat ( this was before seatbelts ), a bundle of energy capped by a blond mop top draped in ill fitting clothes. It is fall and a bit of chill permeates the air. The heater is on in my 1978 Toyota Corolla, my first new car, a car I bought for myself for $4,000 ( when I hardly had two pennies to rub together ) . I had bought him a pack of M&M candies, those chocolate candies you hold in your hand, and he takes them and holds them over the heater vent and says, “I am going to drop these, what are you going to do about it?”
I think, “crap, my car will be ruined — it’s not even paid for, it will stink forever…”
So I just said, “You could do that, but it would make me sad. A friend wouldn’t do that to a friend.”
He looked at me, he was a cute little blond mop top, sat back for a minute quietly, and then started eating his M&M’s as we drove back.
Some days I still think of him.