Lenny had a soccer ball. He
was the only kid on the block with a soccer ball. Now times were difficult
in the city. Jobs were on again and off again. Everyone was nervous about
their income. Lenny's father had been sent home from his job with the
promise of a call back as soon as “thing's pick up.”
More and more important to
the children was Lenny's soccer ball. Wherever he happened to be, one could
see him working the ball back and forth with his feet. The children around
him were always glad to have him there because they too could play.
One day as Miranda was
pulling her car into the drive. She saw that ball in the gutter. It was
flat and was most certainly deflated.
“Oh my!” “Lenny's ball.”
“Too bad.” “Too bad.” The young woman picked the ball up from the street.
When her husband returned
from work, she showed him the sad looking flattened piece of leather.
“Look!” “Do you think you can take this to the shoe shop?” “Do you think
they could sew the outside of it up?” “I'm sure we can order a new liner for
Miranda's husband was a whiz
at repairing anything. In a few days he returned from work holding the ball
up with a grin on his face. Black and white acrylic paint the woman used
and she was busy painting the pattern back on the ball. Most of the color
was worn off anyway.
She set the ball on the table
close to the large outside window for the sun to dry it, paying no
attention to the fact the children outside might see it. Evidently, the
children did see it, where upon they ran to tell their father. Probably,
the child did not even know the ball had been flattened.
When she stepped up to the
door to answer it, she saw it was the man from next door. He was angry with
a definite raging snarl on his face. Because of this Miranda stepped out of
the house onto the patio where he was. The man was out of work, hating the
world, and now he was taking all that anger out on her. He raved on and on
about how she had stolen his son's soccer ball. Miranda kept very quiet
but, he looked so violent she wasn't sure what he was going to do. She
stepped over putting her foot on her son's ball bat he had thrown down. Why
she did that she couldn't explain. Maybe she was afraid he would pick it up
and use it on her. But, for a moment the action stopped the man's raving.
“Now, are you quite sure you
are through?” She asked him. “If you are, I want you to know we spent some
time and a little expense on repairing your son's ball after I found it
smashed flat in the gutter.” “I knew you were out of a job and I felt sad
he had lost his ball at this time.” “With that she stepped inside the door
and picked up the ball.” “I was waiting for it to dry before I gave it to
him.” “But, since you have shown me how you really feel. “Here take
it!” “As it is!”
Miranda had no question as to
the ball being dry. The acrylic paint she used really almost dries
instantly, but the man didn't know this. As she in a quick motion tossed it
to him, it slapped into his hand with a smacking sound. He pulled one hand
away, looking at it to see if there was paint there. She laughed and
quickly returned to the inside of the house, lest he should be anymore
embarrassed and sheepish looking.
That evening as she related
the story to her husband his only comment was, “Well, you could have fooled
me.” “He always seems to have such a pleasant personality.”
Miranda grinned. “Oh well!”
“You know what old Abe said.” “You can fool some of the people some of the
“I know.” “I know.” “You
can fool some of the people, some of the time.” “But, you can't fool all of
the people all of the time.”
Shortly afterward, the man
was called back to his job, but forever on, when he saw Miranda, he would
duck his head with that same ashamed look he had the day she tossed him the
ball. Miranda felt bad about that. She knew if it had to be done over it
would be the same decision. If the young woman had asked him if she could
take the ball to repair it, all his manly pride would not have consented to
it. It was just unfortunate, she had let the child see it before returning
it to him.