I am quite the older man now than what I was at the tender age of twelve. At that age I didn't live very near anyone I went to school with. I was caught in a sort of in-between zone between two Catholic schools. Up until that time, the majority of my playtime was taken up by my brother, North of 50.
But then a funny thing happened. Those times lessened and I began to roam the neighborhood with two friends that lived on my street. For the next couple years we were nearly inseparable even though they went to different schools. When we all came home or during the summer months, it was on! We were everywhere, playing basketball at the end of the street (or in my case, trying to do so), playing football, buying fish for our aquariums or what took up most of our time, riding our bikes.
It was a different time and almost a completely different era. We rode for miles! We explored not only our neighborhood but those that touched ours and touched those and touched those and even further out. What bonded us was the sense of adventure and the fun of just being with each other out in the world. Back then, it was fun to be twelve.
The world since has changed, some for the better, some, not so much. But often one looks back and sees those things that make a difference in the world that carries on to this era. My two friends were named Billy and Gary. Gary is white like me, and Billy is black. What we didn't see was the color of each other's skin. My mother treated them like she treated me and their mothers treated me that same. It didn't matter.
So what makes me look back on this and smile today? Well, my grandson Cage has a friend over. they are both about that age. The young lad visiting after school is a very tall for his age and towers over Cage, a thin black youth, much like my lifelong friend Billy who towered over me.
There are good things in this world and good people and they come in all colors and sizes.
Oh, and the young man's name is...William.