The overnight clouds which had dropped a dusting of snow on the ground had cleared out and given way to clear skies on Jamie's second Saturday morning at the Home. Temperatures rising toward a forecasted high of forty five, the lack of a breeze, and the warming rays of the sun were the perfect recipe for a rousing day of touch football.
After breakfast and chores were completed, Richard instructed everyone to put on a sweater and meet on the front lawn. They combined with the two cottages next to them and had enough for a game of seven-on-seven.
Everyone was a little chilly to start, blowing on their hands and holding them in their underarms, but after a few plays they all were warm and sweating. Jamie couldn't stop grinning. He'd never had such fun in all his life.
When the motorcycle rumbled up the street, everyone stopped playing. Jamie's smile turned to a stoic stare at the rider who stopped in front of the lawn and parked his bike. Michael ran up to the man on the motorcycle. The rider removed his helmet. He looked to be about fifty years old. He had a full beard and salt-and-pepper hair. He wore leathers from his neck to his boots.
“Hi, Sonny,” Michael said, grinning from ear to ear, eagerly waiting for Sonny to acknowledge him and give him the attention he craved.
“Hey, Michael. How are you today?” Sonny said.
“Fine.” Michael happily sprinted back to the field of play.
Richard approached Jamie. “Jamie, come with me. I need to introduce you to our Program Manager.”
Jamie followed him reluctantly.
“Sonny, this is Jamie Myles. He moved in last week,” Richard said.
“Jamie, nice to meet you, young man,” Sonny said as he held out his hand.
Jamie looked at the ground as he shook Sonny's hand.
“Jamie, you need to look an adult in the eye and return a greeting when you're addressed,” Sonny said sternly. “Since you're new, I'm going to let it slide this time. Just don't mistake my kindness for weakness.”
“Yes, sir,” Jamie said. “Nice to meet you.” He looked at him briefly and then looked down again.
“Don't let it happen again.” Sonny turned to Richard with a scowl on his face. “You need to work with him.”
“I will, Sonny,” Richard said.
Sonny put his helmet back on, fired up his motorcycle, and drove off.
[Sonny – Program Manager at Nachala Home for Boys]