When I was a kid, there was an old man who lived in our neighbourhood. When I started thinking about writing this up I realised I didn’t remember his name, but luckily my mom did. His name was Ralph Elkin. “Uncle Elkin”, we called him.

He was American (which was somewhat rare). Wore one of those Old Guy caps, had a ubiquitous 1970s yellow Volvo station wagon.

He was a nice guy and all the kids loved him. When you’d run into him around the neighbourhood (usually when he was walking from his car to his place) he’d always ask “Are you a good boy?” and if you said yes (which, of course, you did) he’d give you a lollipop.

So, nothing super-special there. Just an old guy who liked kids and gave them candy. I suppose nowadays that might seem odd, which is a little sad, but back then it was just nice.

One day I was watching TV – and there he was. They were having a report on him.

Turns out he used to go to hospitals, visit and cheer up sick children. Just because. On the TV show they showed him talking to wounded soldiers. Funny thing is he was still going “Are you a good boy?” at them and giving them lollipops.

That’s pretty much the end of the story. It doesn’t have a Surprise Bad Ending (also known as a Cosby).

I originally went on a tangent over here about spirituality (or rather the lack of me having any and not needing any) which pretty much tripled the length of this post, but I don’t think it’s necessary. I just wanted that small story I had about Ralph Elkin to be on the Internet. I don’t think that many people will see it, but it doesn’t matter. It’s out there, and probably will be for a long time.

6 comments to Ralph

  • Murun

    Little memories like these are of immense value. I’m glad this story doesn’t have a “bad” ending, that seems to be all you hear of these days.
    Recently it was on our news that a gentleman, retired, was refused entry at his local community centre to see a falconry display. Why? Because he was on his own and there would be small children there. SO??? The centre said it was to protect these children that single adults were not permitted.
    He is a regular at that place, with his young grandchildren. The falconry display was not aimed at toddlers but advertised as “For the whole family”. It worries me that a lone adult cannot exercise his freedom without being unreasonably branded a threat to children.
    More stories like Mr. Elkin are needed on the internet right now.

  • Jessica

    When I was young, eons ago, I could count on getting candy from at least four extremely old gentlemen in my family’s circle of acquaintances and no one thought it was strange. They were all sweet, wonderful people who were always jolly and happy and they liked talking to kids and teenagers. They never talked down to us and they always had good stories. It is so sad that kids today can’t have that in their lives. Just too sad.

    • sterlingphoenix

      I’m not the biggest fan of children or anything, but I always like giving out candy on Halloween, for some reason. Not that I ever get any significant number of kids around here… I’d probably be the kind of person who’d randomly give out candy but nowadays that could get me arrested…

  • Jessica

    Sad state of affairs theses days, isn’t it ?

  • Lynda

    I found this by mistake – will explain when we talk. Great story. I’ll never forget Ralph Elkin!

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