Towhead, Blue Eyes and Milk Duds (a minister friend of mine shares this wonderful story about an un-named friend)
My first playmates were my older brother and sister. Then there was a towhead girl with blue eyes. I cannot remember not knowing her. She could do anything a boy could do. Simultaneously she possessed the most tender heart. She was my first buddy. We learned to skate together with our clamp on street skates. Then, her skates fell apart from wear and tear. One day her body stood motionless as she watched us skate. All thought she was tired. But “towheads” blue eyes told me her spirit felt unloved and wept silently. I stopped and let her borrow one of mine. Skating with one skate was not much fun, but watching her tender spirit deep within those blue eyes feeling rejected my young spirit hurt too. One day we saw older kids doing something we had never seen before. Each was sitting on a small board placed on top of a single skate streaking down a hill. We found two boards suitable for six year olds. Then, I gave her a skate. I remember pausing because I was wearing a new pair of yearly shoes. I thought of a refrain Red Skelton’s, “If I dood it, I get a whooping – I dood it!” The logic of a six year old waited until the was going down before he went into the house. Tomorrow was forever for an adventuresome boy. My parents had a crystal ball and XRay vision. The latter side of “I dood it” visited my kiester within minutes. By the time I was ten my keister had callous like the knees of a camel. I forgave them and started another journey the next morning. If I saw her at the theater on Saturday morning, I used my nickel to buy Milk Duds and shared them with her. I lost touch with her as a teenager, because she had discovered older boys. Within months our childhood adventures ended.
I saw her a few times in our twenties. By our late twenties, both of us had moved to other states. In my mid-fifties, I had a dream about her. It took several years to find someone who had her telephone number. I called and told her about my dream. She cried and told me the nightmare she had lived. Years of drugs, exploitations by men and even prostitution broke her heart and spirit. These events destroyed her family relationships and herself respect. She accepted Christ, forgave herself and others. She asked me if I would baptize her some day? Several more years passed before she flew to Atlanta. We meet the next day. Her towhead was a little thinner, but her blue eyes sparkled and she allowed me to snuggle with my first buddy whom I still cherish. In spite of others being close by I put my arms around my first sweetheart. Children jell best when alone. I pulled out some Milk Duds for old time sake. The years rolled back to the early days. She was still my buddy. By this time in our lives, we had acquired the gift of XRay vision. The spirit I knew within those blue eyes told me she was dying. Innocent and honest children ask questions adults cringe to hear. I asked her, if she came home to die? I heard those close by gasp and freeze in shock! She said, she knew a few people loved her, but her siblings did not want to see her. Then, she said, “Atlanta would be the safest place to die. And, she would prefer to die with someone’s arms around her than to die alone.” Finally, one of her sisters agreed to let her spent the night with her. She spent Saturday night with her sister. During the night she died. Our plan was for me to baptize her on Sunday. We know baptism does not save one. Baptism is an act of obedience reflecting the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I share this with you to demonstrate how sacrifice, precious memories and friendships are sacred gifts. At her funeral service, I passed out Milk Duds. I told how a nickel went a long way in the early 50’s. I bet you a nickel, when I see her in heaven, the first thing she will do is share her Milk Duds with me!