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Shumate column: New friend and future rock star

By Margaret Shumate
For the Salisbury Post
While waiting my turn at the dental clinic one recent Wednesday morning, I entered into small talk with a young man in the waiting area. Noting his absence from school, I asked if he was having dental work done also. He answered that both his parents were the patients and that he was just waiting for them.
He went on to say he had been sent home from school earlier that morning with an uncontrollable nosebleed. He and his best friend had been playing and target shooting with arrows the evening before and he had injured his nose, causing the intermittent bleeds. For the next 20 minutes, I encouraged conversation with him on various subjects ó mostly about him.
He was 12, going on 13, and had a twin sister. He also had a 17 year-old old sister that he was very proud of. She played first chair clarinet in her school band. He liked school, had many friends and was looking forward to attending Carson High School in two years. He loved all kinds of sports, especially football, but couldn’t play because of a back condition. His family lived in a rural area and had a big garden. His dad had recently had a stroke and was unable to work. Therefore, the rest of the family were responsible for tending the garden.
I asked what his goal was after high school graduation.
To my surprise, he wanted to be a rock star!
“Not hard, heavy metal stuff, but the good kind,” he explained. I relayed that I had grown up in the ’50s and ’60s and loved rock and roll of that era. To me, that was the “good stuff.”
He agreed. I told him I was retired from work, was a free-lance writer, wrote articles for the newspaper and was presently writing a book of short stories. He had an interest also. He really wanted to learn to play bass guitar and was saving money to buy one. A lot of his friends played instruments. Maybe they would start a band.
We switched gears back to his family. He was trying to get his parents to quit smoking.
“Good for you,” I said. “Keep bugging them and hopefully it will happen.”
Of course this was a good opportunity for me to add, “Stay away from smoking, alcohol and drugs and you will have a much healthier, happier life. God will watch over and care for you if you do your part.” There ó I had planted the seed. Now, hopefully it would grow.
As I was called back for my turn, I left the young man with a smile and hopefully some things to ponder. I felt he had the potential for success and that with the proper guidance, it was well within his reach.
I had been in the chair for about five minutes when behind me I heard Debbie say, “This young man wanted to tell the nice lady goodbye and that he enjoyed talking to you.”
I turned to him with a “thanks” and “me too.”
“You didn’t tell me your name,” I added.
“It’s Dalton, what’s yours?”
“My name is Margaret. I look forward to buying your band’s CD one day.”
“And I will be sure to read your book,” he replied.
Though 52 years separated us, for 20 minutes we were on the same page with our hopes and dreams.
I gained a new 12-year-old, going on 13, friend that day. What a blessing!

Margaret Shumate lives in Salisbury.

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