Tuesday, December 23, 2008

HW MELTON


When I was in Jr. High, one late afternoon, my brother brought home a friend for supper. His name was H. W. Melton. I remember him having darkish hair cut in a high and tight, a few freckles across the bridge of his nose, a shirt too small, pants too short, and very very skinny. Now, before you go thinking I’m some kind of snob, I was quite a nerd myself and not that rich…and I knew it. I didn’t look down on him at all, but something about his shy demeanor let me know he was from the other side of town. But what I remember the most about HW was how he ate.
My mother of 5 kids was a pretty busy lady and cooking supper wasn’t on her list of favorite things to do, and eating what she cooked wasn’t one of our favorite things to do.
It seems we had pot roast a lot…we always called it pot roast back then, and it was always cooked with carrots and potatoes. I got so tired of pot roast that I could hardly stand to eat it. The only thing worse than pot roast was when it became stew the next day.
Anyway, that crisp evening Bobby and HW came in after football practice and Bobby invited him to stay for supper. It was late fall and the air was pretty chilly. HW didn’t have a coat and his pants left a little bit of his leg showing at the bottom. When suppertime came, he crowded around our table with us and I watched in amazement as he ate two bowls of stew in about two minutes and then asked for more. I was astonished that a: he could eat something so hot so fast, and b: that he actually seemed to like that dreadful stew.
Today, I realize…he was hungry. He was poor and I’m pretty sure he walked home to the other end of town that night shivering all the way. It made me feel sad.
I’ve thought about HW so many times over the years. From time to time I tell my children what I call the “HW Melton Story.” The HW Melton Story is about the same every time I tell it and it serves as a lesson to just be grateful for what you have. My children roll their eyes every time I tell it because it’s usually connecting with them and their lack of gratitude.
I would like to believe that today HW is a successful and secure businessman with a house full of happy kids and a nice hot meal fixed by his pretty wife….sitting down each night to eat in front of a big roaring fire in front of his great big rock fireplace, with pants that go all the way to his socks.
HW…I hope you have that…wherever you are, I hope you do. And I wish that when you moved away and I never saw you again, that somehow you could know that I’ve used you as an example in life, many times. Don’t be snotty. Don’t turn your nose up at supper your mother worked hard to cook and your dad worked hard to pay for. Don’t be afraid to show hunger. And most of all, whistle when you walk home on a cold autumn night because mostly cold is only a state of mind.

1 comment:

Elizbeth White said...

this story is of my uncle HW he has seen your story.and would like to remeber who uou are he rebers Bobby. it not yalls last name. if u can get nací to us that would be great