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Pedagogical Project
“The Joy of Reading”
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A chance to shine
Joe smelled kind of funny. He was a little bit weird.
He wore trash can shoes, had a scraggly beard.
He’d talk to the pigeons in front of Dad’s store.
I often wondered what he was sitting there for.
One day Dad said, “Joe, I’ll make you a deal.
Sweep the sidewalk each morning and you can count on your meals.”
Joe stood up straight and shook my dad’s hand.
I asked Dad, “Why are we helping that man?”
And Dad said, “Every heart needs a chance to shine,
to be wanted by someone somewhere down the line.
We’re all meant to write on the pages of time.”
Every heart just needs a chance to shine.
Joe showed up next morning showered and shaved.
I almost didn’t recognize him when he smiled and waved.
He tackled that sidewalk with a broom and a plan.
I followed him around with Momma’s dustpan.
Dad said he’d never seen that sidewalk so clean.
Joe ate three plates of chicken and two bowls of beans.
A few weeks more of sweeping and next thing you know,
Dad let me be stock boy and my new boss was Joe.
By the end of that summer he was back on his feet.
He’d rented an apartment just down the street.
One day Dad said as we walked by Joe’s place,
“The beginning of greatness from a once hopeless case.”
When I went back to school, something had changed.
I was hanging out with kids I used to call strange.
My old friends asked me why. I said I really don’t know.
I just look at people differently since I met this guy Joe.
Then I’d tell them the story, how we got to know this man,
how he and my dad helped me understand…
Every heart needs a chance to shine,
to be wanted by someone somewhere down the line.
We’re all meant to write on the pages of time.
Every heart just needs a chance to shine.
Steeve Seskin; Allen Shamblin
A chance to shine
Berkeley, Tricycle Press, 1991
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