A Thing of Beauty Is A Joy Forever

Published: Thursday, March 20, 2014 at 08:56 AM.

            My goodness, Nicky Joe had a heart, a love, a zest for life that was even bigger than ole Prince!

            His grandparents lived a hundred yards or so up a fairly steep incline off of the Como Road. One day Nick was shooting a 22 rifle at some crows or something down toward the road. I was too young to say anything, but it didn’t seem safe to me, “Nick, aren’t you afraid you’ll hit a car?”

            “Naw, I’m aiming between the cars!” It was like he had everything under control. In a few minutes he had me shooting at the birds. It didn’t matter to him that I’d never held a gun in my hand. He was making sure I “got in on the fun”.  He never, ever said a discouraging word to me. 

            I can see him right now, riding that horse up the road toward the house. His hair blowing in the wind, the biggest smile you ever saw plastered across his face. He would steer Prince up our driveway and across the side yard, slowing just enough to let Leon jump off the porch and unto the back of the flying steed. Of course, they trampled right through the hedge Mom had carefully planted along the length of the porch. She would run out and fuss a mite at both of them. Nicky would immediately go to telling her how she made the best chocolate pie in the world. Mom would melt before such becoming compliments. She loved Nicky Joe as much as any of us!

            I was fourteen when he pulled into that same driveway in a brand new 1961 Corvette. It was redder than red! “Nick, this is the best looking car I’ve ever seen.” 

            “The key is in it”, he didn’t hesitate, “take her for a spin.” Folks, I’m fourteen! When he moved toward the house, I asked if he was going with me. “Naw, I’m heading for the refrigerator.” I drove over to Pat Houston’s Store and out the Gleason highway like I was the king of the road.

            It took me years out in the real world to realize God didn’t make many people like Nicky Joe Stafford.

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