|Halloween: Susan, Trent and Tim Hawkins|
Across the street lived Timmy Hawkins, one of the gang of many neighborhood kids. In those days, Tim was termed retarded. As terminology changed, Tim was disabled or challenged. Through all the name descriptions, Tim didn't change. He wrestled, he ran, he played and he laughed.
Tim was closer to my age than that of the kids he played with and physically the biggest kid on the block. It was a delight to see the kids rolling down hills and Tim in their middle absolutely flattening anyone in his way. The result was kids yelling, laughing and flailing.
Our basement had a few small windows that looked out towards the street. They were shielded from the street by evergreen bushes. As I was working in our basement family room, I would often feel watched only to look up and see Tim relaxing under the bushes watching me do whatever I was doing. Catching my eye, he would wave and shout a greeting. Disconcerted at first, it became the normal as time went on because Tim was all innocence.
In his innocence he would pick up the best of any swear word he chanced to overhear. He would string everyone of them together in the most interesting description of someone he was upset with. In a world where kids weren't allowed to swear, Tim was the delight of the neighborhood boys - an alter extension of what they secretly envied.
We all found it wasn't good to tell Tim he was going to be doing something fun too far in advance. And this is where the term, "Me go camp!" came from. In case you hadn't heard his good fortune, he would repeat the good news often and with gusto. To this day, when our family hears someone repeat a story more than once someone will casually drop, "Me go camp!"
The neighborhood kids grew up and Tim didn't. They moved away and got families of their own. Tim didn't. He was blessed with a family who cared for and loved him. He was blessed with many friends. In his forever innocence, he kept what his neighbors, friends and family could not: the fountain of youth.
Tim died this week and the world will be a little less sweet. "Me go camp!" one last time.