Once upon a time, when I was a little boy who lived in an orphanage in Jacksonville, Florida, I had always wished that I could fly like a bird. It was very difficult for me to understand why I could not fly, ‘cause then I could go find my very own mother and father.
There were birds at the zoo that were much bigger than I, and they could fly. ‘Why can’t I?’ I thought. ‘Is there something wrong with me?’
I met another little boy who was crippled. He had always wished that he could walk and run like all the other little boys and girls. ‘Why can’t I be like them?’ he thought.
One day when I ran away from the orphanage, I came upon a park. That is when I saw that little boy who could not walk or run, playing in the sandbox. I went over to the boy, and asked him if he had ever wanted to fly like a bird.
‘No,’ said the little boy, who could not walk or run. ‘But I have wondered what it would be like to walk, run, and play like other little boys and girls,’ he told me.
‘That is very sad. Do you think we could be friends?’ I asked the little boy, who was playing in the sandbox.
‘Sure. I really need a friend,’ said the little boy.
We played together for hours. We made sandcastles and we made funny sounds with our mouths, sounds that made us laugh really, really hard. Then the little boy’s father came, with a wheelchair, to pick up his son. I stood up, brushed myself off, and ran over to the boy’s father. I asked him to bend down so that I could whisper something into his ear.
‘That would be OK, I guess,’ said the man.
I ran over to my new friend and said, ‘You are my only friend, and I wish that there was something that I could do to make you walk and run like other little boys and girls. I can’t, but there is one thing I can do for you.’
I turned around and told my new friend to slide up onto my back. Then I began to run across the grass as fast as I could.
Faster and faster I ran, carrying the crippled little boy on my back. Harder and harder, I pushed across the park. Faster and faster, I made my legs travel until they hurt. I ran in a never-ending circle around the boy’s father and the old wheelchair. Soon the wind silently whistled across our little faces, gliding past us as though we were both large eagles, soaring above the highest mountains.
The boy’s father began to cry as he watched his crippled son, riding on my back, flapping his arms up and down in the wind, while all the time yelling, and screaming at the top of his voice … ‘I am flying, Daddy, I am flying!’
Credit: Roger Dean Kiser
Roger Dean Kiser writes about his childhood -A real-life Tom Sawyer, Roger Dean Kiser is a simple man with only a sixth grade education yet he possesses a wonderful ability of storytelling.