Tom Sawyer on Wheels

October 15th, 2008 by Harrumpher Leave a reply »

family.jpgWalking Blue Hill Avenue to snap some pix of particularistic churches (I have quite a few and shall post some from there and Washington Street), I have been struck by paint boy.

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The Family Hardware just north of the police station claims to be the finest hardware store in Boston. It may or may not be, but it definitely has the finest artifact.

The promotional statue of a boy painter floods me with images. Don’t think lawn jockey. Even though the lad has an upraised arm and is half adult height, he does not parody stereotypical black facial features or dress in a servant’s costume.


Rather, this fellow is barefoot, but golden. He raises his roller to the task. His expression seems to combine both mindlessness and aspiration. Perhaps those are akin.

He also reminds me of my time on the NYC block of East Third Street, the Hells Angels block. A few doors to the east of the Angels’ building was a butcher shop, with a huge plate glass window. Rumors were that the butcher was the local numbers guy and that’s why the window remained intact. On the other hand, it was a noisy block when they spent an hour blowing out and cranking up their bikes to ride every night. The Stones’ Wild Horses careered off the buildings while they were at it. The big point was that for our tolerance of the noise, we had safety. Punks looking to mug or burgle went elsewhere. No one messed with the Angels block.

Mike, the butcher, was a good Italian-American guy. He was a giant with a tiny, aged dad. Every sunny day, he’d literally and lovingly carry the old man out to the South facing front of his store and place him in a chair in the sun.

I saw that paint boy is on wheels. Apparently the Family folk roll him out every day too. He stand in perpetual readiness to roll it on.


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