There are a few people wondering when I would stop keeping them in suspense waiting for the next chapter in the life of Sam Lacy.  Although the following is much to do about me, Sam emerges as the star of the show.

It was Feb. 8, 1948, and I remember it well because it was my 10th birthday.  As was my daily routine, I hit the deck at 4:00 A.M. and stumbled through the rigors of teeth brushing and dressing.  I was on my way to pick up my papers to service my newspaper route.

I collected my wagon and headed for the station to load up.  You can check the records, but there is no doubt in my mind that this was the coldest day in history.  I had frozen tears on my cheeks before I traveled two blocks.  Once I had my papers in tow, I settled in a corner to roll them for easy tossing.

This task completed, I could find no more reasons to linger so I prepared to face the cold again.  I had to walk about a half mile to start my route, and there was no thought to my actions at this point.  After delivering about a dozen papers, I think I was convinced I was about to die from frost bite.  With no thoughts other than survival, I turned around and headed home.

In those days many of the homes and businesses were still using coal.  As I passed a local Mom and Pop store, I ditched the papers in the coal bin and with a lighter load, I made haste to get home out of the cold.

I breathed a sigh of relief when I reached my front door.  My attitude changed somewhat when Pop asked me how I finished so quickly.  I answered something nondescript and disappeared.  About 30 minutes later the phone rang and it dawned on me that people were complaining about no service.  Pop asked me about this development, and I decided I had better fess up.

Never missing a beat, he told me to get my coat.  As he donned his coat he suggested I get my wagon.  We retrieved my papers and the two of us made the deliveries.  Walking along beside Pop reflecting on my future, I found it had warmed up considerably.  I even imagined the area across my behind had become more than a little toasty.

When we got home, there was no conversation because Pop had to go to work.  Knowing Sam’s thoughts on responsibility, I spent the day waiting for the other shoe to drop.  I had even forgotten that it was my birthday.

When dinner was concluded he suggested that I go into the living room and wait for him.  He and my Mom washed and dried the dishes while I waited.  I must admit I was more comfortable in the waiting room at the dentist office.

He finally came in and sat down.  There was no time for me to come up with an escape plan, and he broke the silence with these words, “If you take a job, do the job.”  He then led me to the back porch and unveiled a Rollfast bike, my birthday present.

My lesson was well learned. He made a difference.

Tim Lacy

Special to the AFRO