THE PAPER BOY
A clump of hair smacked across Colin's face. The wind even tried wrestling him to the ground. Instead of newspapers, it felt as if Colin’s news-bag was full of Nova Scotia potatoes.
Maybe it had to do with the news dad read before Colin left the house. The morning headlines were full of the usual sad stories.
"For goodness sakes," dad said. "No good news again!"
CAR ACCIDENTS! HOUSE BURNS! STORM DAMAGE!
Colin wished he could have been able to cheer up dad. He moved quickly from house to house leaving papers on the porch or in the mailbox.
It helped being the fastest runner in the school and even wearing his new running shoes.
Right now Colin wished he could bring only good news to his family, also to his friendly neighbors. "There's that paper boy bringing sad news again," they were probably saying.
"How could he make things better for everyone?" he wondered as he continued to deliver his papers.
He met Nathan near Victoria Park. Colin really liked Nathan, even if his words sometimes got mixed up.
Someone told him Nathan was mentally challenged. But Colin didn't care. Nathan was his friend.
Colin noticed Alice coming. She was in his class. She only had one real eye. The other was made of glass. He liked Alice even if people called her, "Bionic lady," behind her back.
He didn't realize how much It helped her, having a friend like Colin.
The dog down the street barked loudly. Prince was lonely tied to his chain and Colin knew all he needed was a good friend. He always liked to pat the dog's head.
Prince's breath was warm as he licked Colin's hand.
"It's okay boy," he told the dog.
Each time Colin left a paper by a customer's door he felt bad, such sad news. How could he make some good news? He thought about it a lot, as he made his rounds.
Colin gave his usual cheerful "Hi" to everyone on his route. Adults and children on both sides of the street yelled and waved back.
His smile was like the rising sun.
Someone was crying and he ran to where a little boy had fallen and hurt his leg. Colin calmed him down until the boy's mother arrived.
"I'm glad you're my paperboy," she told Colin.
He continued on his route, still ten more customers to go. But, he didn't feel tired. It was fun doing what he usually did, helping others.
Now, let's see. What else could he do to cheer up people?
His best friend Donna came by to pick up her paper. It saved him from going all the way to the second floor.
It was her way of saying ‘thanks’ for giving her a chance to earn money, helping him on Saturdays. She was saving money for Christmas presents.
Besides, he liked Donna a lot.
Mr. Weatherby was such a grouch but Colin didn't mind. His car was not working, again. And Mr. Weatherby's lawn was all grown up, again.
Colin would come later and cut the grass. No charge, again.
He raced up the street to his last customer. Colin had quite a bit of energy left, as he bounded up the stairs. Mrs. Williams saw him coming and had her usual snack waiting.
She wondered why such a lively boy always had time to chat with an old lady.
Lemonade and his favorite peanut butter cookies were a neat treat. After all, she had told him many times he was her favorite paperboy.
His own treat for his customers came from his little boy's heart. Colin was so full of joy, and it made him many friends.
Everyone looked forward to his daily trips with the newspaper, even if some of the news was sad.
There were customers from all over. Some even came from China and Africa. Others had thick, wavy hair and some, no hair.
Colin didn't mind. He liked them all.
Some of his customers were fat, others skinny. And some had customs and clothes, which were different. But it didn't matter to Colin.
He liked them all.
Colin did have much good news to share, even if he didn't realize it. His smile and polite manners brought cheering-up news to all his customers.
Yes, Colin was a very special paperboy.
* * *
© Richard & Esther Provencher 2008