There were children playing in the park. It was hot. And that’s what kids do in the summer. You have to admire kids, taking advantage of the dog days, even though there’s a pandemic going on.
Remember how euphoric it was being out of school for summer?
Yeah. Me too.
These children wore face masks. They were on the swing set, having a non-stop party. They achieved high altitudes. Did dangerous somersaults. Broke femurs. Loved every minute.
I saw the old man on a bench. He arrived early for our meeting by about ten minutes. He wore a mask. He was reading.
I introduced myself, then asked, “What’cha reading?”
But it wasn’t nothing. It was a comic book. This elderly man, old enough to be my grandfather, with dove-white hair, was reading comics.
“Thanks for meeting me,” I said.
“No, thank YOU,” he said, stretching his frail hand outward to shake mine. “I’m retired, I get bored sitting at home.”
I stared at his outstretched hand. I hadn’t shaken hands in half a year since the pandemic began. So we
“Is that a comic book?” I asked.
He shrugged. “I like the pictures.”
It was Batman.
I had to laugh. When I was a boy, I was a Superman fanatic. I subscribed to “Action Comics” for nine bucks per year and received 24 issues in the mail. It was the best deal in town.
Before our conversation got going, he offered to say an official blessing. This was a little weird, but I went along with it. I closed my eyes because I didn’t know what else to do.
If you’ve never heard a blessing from a retired Catholic priest, it’s cool. They recite what sounds like antiquated poetry.
Which is different from the way I grew up. We were Baptists. Our preachers’ prayers were pure improv. They would say anything that came to their minds.…