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Thursday, March 3, 2016

Learning to Love with Pops

Along the snowy street a black limousine’s tires crunched slowly.

It was 5:22 in the morning. 

Under a street corner's light a flurry of snowflakes swirled around Daniel, Russell and Thomas. At first they did not notice the shiny car or its lone occupant as he got out of the car.

The trio were all newsboys.  Every morning in pouring rain, blustery winds or when the gentle calls of waking birds filled the air they always stood under the same light sorting out copies of the Star Journal and placing them into long canvas bags.  Within minutes the 12 year-old threesome would deliver the news to their Corona Queens' neighborhood of Corona in New York City.

The appearance of a man’s rubber galoshes with bits of slush made the boys raise their heads briefly.
A chorus of greetings left their lips.

“Hey Pops,”  “How ya doin, Pops?” and “’Morning, Pops”

To the rest of the world the man standing in front of them was the legendary jazz musician, Louis Armstrong. 

To the kids of Corona he was just “Pops”.  He and his wife Lucille lived on nearby 107th Street.

“Good morning my fine gentlemen” answered Pops.  His voice rumbled low and gravelly “What is the news of the world today?”

“The transit strike is almost over,” said Thomas his cold cheeks as red as his hair that peeked from under his wool cap. “The buses and subway trains should be running by tomorrow.”

“Boy, my dad will be happy,” declared Daniel.  “He said driving into Manhattan every day with Mr. Green was starting to affect his good nature.”

“Does Mr. Green have a nice word about anything?” asked Russell stuffing the last curled newspaper into his bag. “It seems he starts the day be breathing in all the negative air and then spends the whole rest of the day getting rid of it.”

Pops’ enormous white teeth shone as he laughed at the boys’ assessment of the unpleasant neighbor.

“He just has the miseries and instead of telling them goodbye, he says ‘hello’ come on in and stay a while.  Over the years he has become a true curmudgeon.”
"What's a crumb mud genie?"

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