Monday, August 26, 2013

Let this restore your faith in humanity: Yesterday, I was walking all afternoon along East Potomac Park. I came across this older couple and two little boys. Grampa looked like a biker with a huge pot belly, "Duck Dynasty" beard, and long ratty jeans. Gramma looked like ...well, trailer trash, complete with Atlantic City visor and a big, dirty bandage on one elbow. Both were white.

The boys were their grandchildren. Ryan was Caucasian, about six years old, and a little shy. His brother, whose name I did not overhear, is biracial and a year older. They are half-brothers.

The boys were being taught how to fish, and were having the time of their life. Every time a hook came back empty, they were astonished and had to tell their grampa that "the fish took the food" without the courtesy of being hooked. Every time a duck or gull flew by, they got excited and pointed. They said "hello" to everyone who walked past. Ryan offered some of his dry bread crumbs (which they used to feed the ducks) to a bulldog named Cash who shied away at first but then gently licked crumbs from his hand. The first time his brother cast his line without help, he jumped up and down for joy. They loved their grandparents, and it was clear their grandparents loved them.

These two brothers -- so different, and so alike -- loved being with each other. Every few minutes, they would rush into one another's arms, and hug hard and joyously. If one giggled, the other would too. They put their arms around one another's shoulders constantly, and smiled at each other all the time.

These brothers were leaning against the iron railing, overlooking the Washington Channel. They were a little contemplative, just watching the sailboats go by and the cormorants wing overhead and the water. I was a long way off, using my zoom lens. But still, the older brother saw me -- and smiled.

He waved just after I took this photograph, and I stopped taking pictures to wave back. He smiled even more, and that 10,000-megawatt smile was one for the ages.

faith in humanity

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