I didnâ€™t see it coming. That whole â€œhow cute is he?â€ thing.
A young boy wandered into my Aging Schmaging tent and looked around. I was a vender at Parley Lake Winery enjoying the last vestiges of a warm autumn day.
He stared at my photographs, and then approached the table. â€œDoes the candy cost anything?â€ he said. I had a small container of suckers, bite-sized candy bars, and Star Burst candies available for browsers. â€œNo. Help yourself to a piece,â€ I said. He took a sour apple/caramel sucker. â€œGood choice!â€ I commented.
The young boy continued to look at my offerings. He poked a finger into a silk covered pillow. â€œHow much are the pillows?â€ he asked. I met his gaze. â€œ$30.â€
He moved on. He looked at my midlife-themed womenâ€™s greeting cards. â€œDo you have anything that isâ€¦ cheap?â€
I gulped a little. I noted the crumpled 1-dollar bill in his hand. This young man had a little money to spend, and for some unknown reason wanted to spend it with me.
â€œNo. I really donâ€™t, â€œ I said. He nodded as if he understood, licked his sucker, and eventually wandered off with his money still in hand.
A short while later he came back. â€œMy name is Jayden. I tried to get my dad to buy that pillow for me, but he wouldnâ€™t. Itâ€™s so soft. â€ He moseyed over and touched the pillow again.
By now I was dying to give him somethingâ€¦anythingâ€¦just because he was so cute. My husband shook his head in a noooooooo gesture. He knows me too well. â€œWhy donâ€™t you take Jaydenâ€™s picture?â€ he said. Jayden brightened. I grabbed my camera and snapped his photo.
â€œWill I be on one of your cards?â€ he said.
â€œNo,â€ I said, â€œbut Iâ€™ll put you on Facebook.â€ He beamed.
Later that afternoon he had his portrait done by Deb Zeller and came running over to show me. â€œI had my picture done a couple years ago by someone else, but I like this one better.â€ I told him it was, indeed, a fine portrait.
I have no idea why Jayden found me so interesting. I have no idea where Jaydenâ€™s parents were. I only know he was so darn cute, so darn earnest, that he was the best part of my day.