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The Remarkable Boy

Mon, May 22nd, 2000
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Monday, May 22, 2000

I was working one Saturday evening at the Old Village Hall, where I bus and wait tables. The night was like any other, busy with the rush of old folks who would later be attending the theater. About an hour before closing the owner announced to me that he had to leave early and asked me to watch the door and host until closing. I accepted eagerly, knowing it would be slower at the end of the night and the job would basically involve sitting at the bar. Not being one to want to do a poor job, I quickly got to work and planted myself on a bar stool, soda in hand. After a while a family who had been eating at the restaurant earlier came and sat at a table in the bar, wanting to relax after their meal. Among the members of the family was a small boy. Almost immediately the boy came over and climbed up onto the bar stool next to me, no small task considering it was almost twice his height. Showing no signs of shyness, the boy spoke to me, the words coming out in a slow, well-pronounced, seemingly thought out manner.

"You know," he said. "I was looking at all the bottles behind the bar here, and I was wondering which ones I could drink?"

I smiled. "Well, that depends on how old you are."

"I am six years old," he stated, holding up that amount of fingers.

"Well, I'm afraid you can't have most of the stuff up there," I said. "At least for a few more years. We have pop and juice though."

"Do you have orange juice?" he asked politely.

"Sure do."

"May I have a glass?"

I replied in the affirmative and poured him a glass of orange juice. He looked at it, then at me warily.

"Everything alright?" I asked.

"May I have a straw too?" he asked sheepishly. I gladly got him a straw then sat down next to him again. I introduced myself and he told me that his name was Jack. We began to talk and sometimes I almost forgot he was only six years old. He was the most polite and articulate kid I've ever met. He proceeded to tell me about his family, his school, his home in Minneapolis, his Power Ranger figures, and he also explained to me what a "weekend " is. I told him about my family, my school, and my home in Lanesboro. Then he told me about how he was planning their trip back to Minneapolis the next day.

"It's a really, really long trip!" he said. "We're going to need a lot of food. I think we'll come back here and get a bunch of food from you guys. It's such a long way, we'll need a ton of it. When we drove down we brought food but my sister and I ate all of it!" At this he covered his mouth and blushed.

Eventually it was time for him to leave and he shook my hand and said goodbye. After he left I realized how much I had actually enjoyed talking to him and still couldn't believe he was only six years old. I don't know how to explain it, but it just brightened my day. Sometimes the strangest things affect you, and I don't know why, but I have a feeling I'll never really forget that conversation.

Colin Buzza is a student at Lanesboro High School.

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