A child comes to call
Posted by J Russell
A few days ago an unknown kid from a few streets away rang the doorbell and asked if my youngest, aged 7, could come out to play. Apparently she’s a class mate. For a moment, it was just like when I was a kid in the 1970s, except now it’s the 2000s and there’s a lot more traffic on the road for a start, and that whole culture of playing outside on the street has sort of died out a bit. Notwithstanding my constant alertness to health and safety, the two of them played out, under loose supervision, for a while.
I then sent our visitor home, with a note with my telephone number on, saying she was welcome to come another time and giving my mobile number in case there is any problem with this arrangement. I’ve heard nothing and today she’s back for her tea. I’ve no interest in judging how other parents choose to bring up their kids, but I have gathered from this child that she’s from a big family and she plays out on her own a lot. Seems sensible, then, to come somewhere for food and glass of water (which is all I’ve got at the moment, unless she wants a cup of tea).
The girl is a white kid with a crew cut and she has a burly mountain bike she cruises round on. It looks like it’s been an older brother’s conveyance at some point. I am intrigued. I wonder how long she’s going to come round for. I wonder if she and my daughter will fall out. I wonder what’s going on in her own home. And she reminds me of something else. How Malcolm X, after his father died and his mother was left with seven and then eight children to care for, started roaming around town, calling on other people and sometimes getting fed.
Our visitor shows an enterprising nature and I like that. I still think I will walk her back home after tea though. Just in case.