Max Wincell was kind of scary. I was in 3rd grade, and Max was now in his second year of 3rd grade. Previous encounters with Max had involved Max hitting me. Once we had met him in a park downtown, my sister and I, and he had hit us both. But now, I was almost home, safe on my block, when Max called me by name. How had he remembered?? I was paralyzed by fright when Max ran up to me.
"Hey, I just moved in over on Davis Street" (2 blocks away) "Aren't you that kid who plays piano?"
-- gulp --- Oh, no! my short life flashed in front of me, in a nightmare vision of a future filled with daily poundings. But this was different. He was new to the neighborhood, and now, things had changed. Now, I was now one of "his people". The incidents of the past had been forgotten, as if they had never happened. I certainly wasn't going to remind Max of those.
We played together, hung around together, and then he did a shocking thing. He politely introduced himself to my mother. Max wasn't the sort of person you mentioned to your parents. He was more of the sort you snuck out to hang around with when you were being rebellious. My mother was bowled over by the hospitality, and if Max were around on Saturday, she'd invite him to stay for lunch. He certainly knew how to play the "nice boy" when necessary.
Max, it turned out, didn't have much of a home life. He'd always had to seek his friends one by one, which was hard when his father kept moving from place to place. Max had no mother that he spoke of, and his father was not home much. His house was a cheap wooden pre-fab, and his father's current live-in girlfriend (Max called her "the housekeeper") didn't want us hanging around the house.
Max was smart, although he didn't have very good grades. He never did homework, because he wasn't welcome at home, but he remembered everything we learned in class. He was especially fond of a song Miss Schlueter had taught us in music class. We'd sing it as we roamed the streets after dark, looking for trouble.
"Oh the Man in the MoonAs he sails the skyI think of these nights when summer's gone, and the air is crisp with fall, and a faint smell of leaves burning somewhere. I think of when Max showed me how to howl at the moon.
is a very remarkable skip-per
But he made a mistake
by attempting to take
a drink of milk from the Dip-per!
a drink of milk from the Dipper.
He dipped it into the Milky Way
and slowly and carefully filled it
but the Big Bear growled
and the Little Bear howled
and frightened him so that he spilled it
and frightened him so that he spilled it.
Thanks for listening and contributing. On Twitter, they call me @dimbulb52.