When I was a young boy, perhaps 4 or 5 years old, my mother would occasionally give me a treat; It was always something special because of what it was, but peven more because it was unexpected and unrelated to anything I did (or did not do) or to any holiday or celebration. It could be a candy bar or pack of gum, but more often than not it was something related to art, crayons, a coloring book, and even a set of watercolor paints. She always told me that a little man had brought them for me. Although I never met the little man, he became an important person in my young life.
I was not aware of him gradually disappearing from my life, and do not remember ever asking about him. He simply quietly withdrew, or so I thought, and although I may have forgotten him, he never forgot me. That little man gave me so much more than an occasionally special treat; quietly and without my awareness, the gifts continued, gifts that would remain with me for the rest of my life, enabling me to find my way through all the years that followed.
The little man was very remarkable; wise beyond the limited education I know he had. He had the uncanny ability to see people as they really were, to understand them and be sensitive to their needs and their failings. He was devoted to me, loving me as only a parent can love, but wise enough to trust me, and allow me to go out into the world to become what I was intended to be. He never asked for anything in return, and wanted only for me to be happy.
The Little Man left me, on a gray December day in 1991, but her gifts to me, and to others in her life, have endured endlessly.