This is the best picture I could get without disturbing them. There were so many more poignant shots – but I guess they will just have to remain in my mind for posterity.
Mikey calls him ‘Carrot’ and they play basketball in the street. It started last summer when the man came from China to visit his family that lives across the street from us. It started with ‘ball’ and ‘net’ and ‘bounce’. This man knows virtually no English – but with gestures and the words ‘English, please’ – Mikey has become a little tutor.
Mikey has a true gift with people. He has no reservations and no pretenses. He can talk to anyone, anywhere with sincerity that has brought tears to my eyes many times. He is extremely kind-hearted and holds no one in more esteem than another. He can speak with an elderly man as easily as a small child. He is never at a loss for words and can quickly find common ground with anyone. I have seen him squeeze himself onto a couch in an assisted living facility and chat up a group of ladies while Gavin and I struggled to make small talk. He once started a conversation with a man in a thrift store only to find out that the man’s son was a soldier in Afghanistan. When the man asked Mikey if he would remember to pray for his son – Mikey offered to do it right there and then, with the man, in the store. Like I said – no reservations.
During their basketball game tonight Mikey yelled ‘That’s good!’ It was repeated many times by his student until they were both satisfied that it was correct. Mikey and ‘Carrot’ soon settled down into the grass cross-legged for some more intense direction – ‘shirt’, ‘shorts’, ‘jacket’ and ‘sneakers’ were all identified. It was followed by a game of “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes”.
Mikey informed me that now that the weather is nice and we are all outside again, and they can get back to it, he is going to teach his friend English. He said ‘He asked me, so I have to.’ Of course you do, Mike. Teach away.