Laddie, The Leader
Among my neighbors, at a lake resort last summer, was a bright little boy called Laddie. He was a dear little fellow, but, like all three-year olds, and some sixteen and thirty and fifty year olds, he once in a while became tired and impatient. We dined at the same small hotel table. One day we were all a trifle late in taking our places, and were not waited upon promptly. When we ordered fruit ice at the close of the meal, the waitress was long in bringing it. Laddie was much concerned. He remembered one other day, when the ice was all gone before the late-comers were served. He was quite sure it would be so this time. He was afraid that if it did come, it would all be melted. In fact, he was very unhappy about it.
I looked sober, and said, in an anxious voice, “I wonder if I shall have any ice today! I do like it so much, and I don’t see why it is not brought.”
Instantly, Laddie’s face brightened, and his voice rang out cheerily. “Don’t you be afraid! I’m pretty sure there is some left. She’ll bring you some pretty soon. I think you’ll have a good, big dish full.” And during the long waiting he reassured me every minute or two with some such remark. When at last it came, he was radiant. “What did I tell you?” he asked. “You see it wasn’t very long, after all!”
Another time, when we were returning from a late walk, Laddie was very tired, and there was nobody in the party strong and sure-footed enough to carry him over the woodland path. It was a weary, weary tramp for him until he was sent ahead to be our guide. Then the tired little form straightened, and the dragging feet were lifted clearer; while his musical voice range out, in caution, “You must not turn down there, or you will get lost. You must just follow me.”
Now why do you suppose I have remembered these little incidents so clearly, and put them on paper for you? Because they show so plainly that when we are thinking of others, our own worries and troubles are lightened, and disappear altogether. And also because, although we may stumble and falter and walk carelessly when we think we are showing another the way, and that he is looking to us for guidance, we do our best, and do it easily, too. It is with us as it was with Laddie—the hard time seems short; and we can say, as he did, “You see, it wasn’t so very long after all!”