He Made Him Happy Just For Me
I danced around the room excitedly. Granny Annie asked my sister, Barbara and me, to travel with her on a Greyhound Bus from Long Beach, California to Salem, Oregon to the annual camp meeting. We had never ridden such a big bus or gone so far away from home.
Granny Annie made each of us three new dresses. Our backpacks were carefully packed for our two day bus trip. She put in treats we normally didn’t get to eat. Of course, there were the necessities, like a new toothbrush and tooth paste.
I peaked into my backpack that was lying on my bed. Immediately I spotted all of the art supplies. Granny Annie knew I loved to draw. I grabbed it and hugged it close to me. I couldn’t wait to get started.
“Girls, hurry! We’ve got to get you to the bus station on time,” Grandpa instructed as he helped usher us out the door into the early morning hours of a new day.
We hugged and kissed him good-bye as we prepared to get on the bus. Granny Annie made sure we knew all of the safety rules; no talking to strangers, no getting out of her sight, no taking things from strangers, all of the things she considered important for our safety while on our journey.
We got to pick our seats. Granny Annie sat behind us so she would know we were safe. I wanted to sit by the window so I could see new things to draw in my sketch book. I had to sit on my pillow to be tall enough to see out.
My heart was racing as fact as the bus’ engine as it pulled out on the road. I sat back in the sit, positioned my art tablet and prepared to draw what I saw. The bus was moving so fast it was hard to see everything. My tablet became full of funny bushes, trees and birds flying in the sky. Before long Barbara wanted her turn sitting by window. I decided it was time to draw pictures of things that weren’t moving so fast.
There was a nice looking older gentleman sitting across the isle, reading the comic strips. I busied myself drawing his portrait. I finished my picture as the bus pulled into the depot. I handed Granny Annie my sketch book; she wanted to see my pictures.
The one of the older gentleman intrigued her so she shared it with him. He was very complimentary and made me feel proud of my work. As I sat down in my seat he asked, “May I draw something in your sketch pad?”
“Sure,” I said as I passed it across the isle to him.
He drew me several little cartoon figures that talked to me just like they did in the newspaper cartoons. Then he drew me a sad looking little man. He told me he was lonely and not so smart. That made me feel sad. I reached the sad little character back to him and asked, “Can you make him be happy?”
He looked at me, smiled, and said, “You bet I can.”. He started talking to the little man about being happy while he was redrawing him. This time he handed me a happy little man. I smiled. The sad little man was happy now, so I was happy.
We came to our final stop and was getting ready to get off. He bent over and kissed me on the head and said, “I will always keep your little man happy.” The picture he reached me was signed Al Capp.
I didn’t realize I held in my little hands the art work of a famous cartoonist that day. He was a man with artistic ability that brought his characters to life by his creative imagination as he sketched them out on paper. He had also proven to be a man that knew how to touch the heart of a child.
Granny Annie made the day even more special by helping me understand how special God thought I was by allowing such a special thing happen in my life.
Fifty- seven years have passed since that wonderful summer day. But, it is an experience that still brings joy to my heart.
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