The Author

prayer

Eddie Kauzlarich lived down the street from me when I was in elementary school. We were in the same grade, and the time and circumstances of life dictated that we would spend time with each other, either in class or after school playing in the neighborhood.

For a kid born and reared in west Texas, Eddie’s family held a certain fascination for me. Of all the people who lived on our street, theirs was the only family that wasn’t “from there.” Eddie’s dad was in the Air Force and had been recently stationed at the local base. I never really knew where they were from since, when I asked, Eddie’s answer was, “all over.” I guess that’s the military life.

Eddie was the best baseball pitcher in our school. A left-hander, no one was willing to stand in against him because the batter couldn’t get used to the angle that the ball came from. Besides, he threw so hard that when he hit you, you stayed hit for awhile. Sometimes I would walk by his house and I could hear him practicing in the backyard with his dad. Never a word, just the loud “thwack” of a ball hitting a glove.

The thing I remember most about Eddie happened one day in school. In those days, when lunchtime came, we would line up at the door, and before we left the room, we prayed (yes, it was a public school). Usually, it was the generic, “God is great; God is good; Let us thank him for our food. Amen.” But this day, Mrs. Smith, our teacher, asked if anyone wanted to say the prayer. Most of us began to shuffle our feet and stare at the floor. But, after a couple seconds’ pause, Eddie said, “I will.” He had probably learned it at home, or perhaps at church, but he gave thanks for the provisions of life, the nourishment of family and food, and asked for God’s continued guidance in our lives. I was enthralled. It was as though I had heard someone pray for the first time in my life. When he finished, Mrs. Smith said, “Thank you, Eddie,” while the rest of us silently filed out, not saying anything but knowing that something special had just happened.

About a year or so later, Eddie and his family moved on to the next military assignment. I haven’t thought much about him in these now many years. When I was younger, I sometimes wondered if he had made the majors with that whiplash arm, but I’ve never seen his name. Whenever I have thought about him, though, I’ve always remembered that prayer and marveled at its effect on me.There are a lot worse things you could remember about someone. I can’t think of anything much better.

Blessings, Sam