The Boy called Tony by his grandpa and others, lights up his corner of the world. Be it kids or very old Big Kids,(adults who are kids at heart) wherever he goes, “Hi. My name is Tony. What is your name?” Usually following this introduction, if the response is received warmly is, “How old are you?”  Than after that is decided, “My grandpa is really old.”

Kindergarten year saw the two of them at the Arctic Circle most days after school. The older “Big Kids”would see him come into Arctic Circle and wait for their turn to talk to the Boy called Tony.

Many times they stopped at Tony’s and Gpa’s table and talked before leaving. New people who had not talked to him before but “listened in” on Tony and Friends conversation, they would then stop at the table to say what a “delightful little boy he is”.

At the time of this writing, sitting in Arctic Circle, he is regaling a mother about the fine points of Pac Man and Frogger on Gpa’s phone. Let’s see, Gpa had that phone for years and did not know Pac Man and Frogger were on it. And so it goes…

And so it went… everywhere he went Tony learned People’s names and remembered them. Later, where ever he happened to see them, “I know you! You work at… or I saw you at…” and the conversation would go off in a multitude of directions… eventually.

One Saturday morning in January after the “BIG GAME!” (see note) Tony, his Aunt Kristen and Gpa were entering IHOP for breakfast. He bounced through the door still wearing his basket ball uniform as an older couple was exiting. Gpa was holding the door for the older “big kids” when the woman got all excited and said to Gpa, “Isn’t that the Arctic Circle Boy?” At which Gpa replied with certainty, “Yes it is.”

Graduating from kindergarten, if such a thing is possible,the class sang a song “Don’t Talk to Strangers”. Gpa thought at the time it was a scary little piece. But what does he know. Later in the afternoon a couple came walking toward Tony. Tony observed them approaching, he studied them intently, and then just as they were going by him, he called out, “HELLO STRANGERS!” Gpa thinks they are the only strangers he really knows.

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Note:

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