Yesterday , I had an electrical fix-it man out to my house to fix a few needed repairs.
When I greeted him at my door I was amazed at how young he was. At first I thought he was a teenager collecting for some good cause until I saw the worn work-belt hanging with tools around his waist.
He had a shy smile as I told him my problems and then he promptly went off to work on the areas.
After he finished we engaged in a bit of small talk. He told me, with a proud smile, that he was a new father of twins and that he had been with the repair company for five years. Here stood a very polite man who was twenty-three with a youthful look of sixteen.
I asked if he was from Kentucky. He said he was -- and continued, "it's a country place where mostly my aunts, uncles, and grandparents lived around us -- up on the ridges and down in the holler." He then added after a pause, "I was raised in a place where the closest store was about thirty miles from us. We lived without electricity, got our water from a spring, and raised a large garden. This is the only kind of life I knew when I was growing up. It was a very poor place."
He added, "I never knew what it was like to throw a light switch until I met my wife who lived in a town. She never knew that life could still be lived the way me and my family lived until she visited the place."
I asked him if as a child he played outdoors a lot -- I always am thinking of today's children with their short attention spans from television and videos. He smiled and with a determined voice said, "Oh yes, we played outside from breakfast to dark. It was expected. This was our way of life to be outdoors all day." I then asked if he and his siblings and cousins made up their own activities. His response was "sure did -- we had woods and a creek -- made up all kinds of things to do. Even though I live in town now sometimes I still get a strong feeling to move back to where I was raised."
Then it was time for him to move on to his other job.
After he left I thought about his life realizing that his childhood was lived only a few years ago.