I remember when my family and I drove to visit my Uncle Bob’s house. We lived in Pittsburgh, Pa. and my Uncle Bob and his wife, Aunt Edie, lived in Greensburg, Pa. It seemed like it took forever and I remember driving my dad crazy with “Are we there yet?” In actuality, it was only 34 miles. I do recall, as we traveled, the landscape changed from city to rural. You could actually see rolling hills and big pine trees lining the roads. When we finally arrived, I jumped out of the car and ran up the long steps to where my aunt and uncle were waiting.
The house was huge: three stories and painted white. It looked like a mansion! After the traditional hugs and kisses, I would dash out to the backyard. The yard was immense like a lush green football field. I would skip down the dozen steps leading out the backdoor to the yard. At the end of the sprawling yard was a babbling brook. I always thought you had to drive to Greensburg to find a brook because you could never find one like this in Pittsburgh. I would take my shoes and socks off and walk on the rocks with the water and the minnows tickling my toes. After dinner and more conversation, we would drive back to Pittsburgh and I, of course, would fall asleep dreaming of the white mansion on the hill overlooking the babbling brook.
Visits to the mansion on the hill grew less frequent. Everyone grew busy and phone calls replaced driving to visit. I was in my early teens when my mom received a call that my Uncle Bob had passed away. Naturally we drove to Greensburg to attend the funeral. Afterwards, I went outside to visit the babbling brook. The white paint was peeling off the outside walls, the steps were splitting in spots, the backyard looked much smaller and the babbling brook was completely dried up. On the way back home, I was very quiet. My dad asked, “What’s wrong?” and I replied, “Nothing!” but he knew better. He asked once again, and finally I told him about how small and worn-down Uncle Bob’s house looked. He chuckled to himself and then he said something I will always remember! He said, “That’s because when you were a small boy, you looked at Uncle Bob’s house with little eyes!” He explained that the house and back yard did not change but my perspective did because I had grown up.
So I remember the “little eyes” story and realize how spot on it was. I remembered that when I was raising my own children. If I see a child standing alone, I kneel down to look them in the eyes. A child’s perspective should be honored and respected when they are growing up even before becoming tweens and teens. Trust me after that, everything changes! Perhaps that’s why I wrote Mr. B stories: for the youngster in all of us, when innocence is preserved and everything is possible!