Community Voices Essay | Teen Ink

Community Voices Essay

January 31, 2019
By 21ZWinton BRONZE, The Woodlands, Texas
21ZWinton BRONZE, The Woodlands, Texas
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Life was simpler, or more personal, when I was a child. There were no computers, mobile telephones, or what we would consider modern technology. People were friendlier, where in small towns everyone knew each other as if they were family. The same could be said for Durham, North Carolina, where I grew up. Neighbors were like aunts and uncles, and every Sunday was like a family reunion at church. I am going to take you back to a typical Sunday when I was a kid, and show you what a day in the life was like for me.

My grandma was the mother of the household, taking over as my guardian because my mom was still a teenager when she had me. My grandpa died before I was born, leaving a gap in the family. “Chris,” my grandma would yell, waking me up at the crack of dawn so I could get ready for church. I rolled out of bed, opening my eyes to the abstract mural of a sunrise shining into my room. Opening my closet, I picked out my Sunday Best. Even though it was still warm, I threw on my pants and shined my shoes. At church, I would get my weekly dose of handshakes and hugs from my neighbors. I stared down Marc, my longtime friend, from across the pew, making faces and trying to distract him from the sermon. Sitting quietly, the smell of the Bibles filled the room like walking into a library with half a century-old books.
Getting out of church, I ran home and quickly changed out of my shoes and pants. Kissing my grandma goodbye for the day, I bounded across the road to Marc’s. We went out the back of his house and ran into the woods. It was my turn to be the Indian, so I hid from Marc, hoping he would not find me. I listened carefully for his footsteps, making them out as he crunched over the orange and red leaves. What would have been a peaceful day, was interrupted with the sound of Marc not-so-subtly sneaking up on me. I took off, him close behind me. Running through piles of raked leaves, I crossed the neighbor’s yard, creating a whirlwind of colors in my wake. Catching up to me, he tackled me and called out, “you got to stop letting me get so close to you Chris.” I received a face full of dirt for my mistake. The brown grit covered my cheeks, creating an irremovable layer of filth. I wore it proudly and turned around to get back at Marc. I chased him down to the drug store. He said his mom would get mad if he was not back in time for dinner, so I went in alone. Reaching into my pocket, I dug out the smooth, silver disk that would cure my hunger. It fit it in between my fingers as I picked up a Yoo-hoo chocolate drink. I walked to the front, handing the cashier my dime, “I found this on the ground, so I wanted to put it to good use.” Cracking open the bottle, the sweet, cold liquid filled my mouth, soothing my taste buds which had been wrongfully deprived from food for almost an hour.
Walking home, I saw my grandma sitting on the porch and waved. She was not at all surprised at my face paint. After my shower, I set the table for our special dinner of fried chicken and biscuits. Saying grace, my grandma hoped for me to stop getting so dirty. We laughed. Talking through dinner, I tried to convince her to let me stay home from school because I was sick, but she said that if I was well enough to play outside, I could go to school. Soon after, I laid down in my room, covering myself with a quilted blanket, quietly thanking God for what he had given me, and what he will do for me.
Nowadays, long after I have moved on from Durham, I still turn to God as if I was 12 years-old, and thank him for giving me so much, and leading me to be the man I am today. 

The author's comments:

Rationale: I was assigned to interview a person who has had a significant impact in my community. I chose to write about Chris Whitt. I know him as my Venturing crew leader for Boy Scouts, a leader in the community, and a friend. I decided to interview him because of how he has impacted my Boy Scout troop, Venturing crew, and community. He stood out to me because although his kids have grown up and are not participating in scouts and have moved on, he remains actively involved as the founding and current leader for my Venturing crew. I inquired about his life, from his childhood to his family now, and composed an essay that summarizes what a day in his life would have been as a 12-year-old boy.

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