THE MORAL INDIVIDUAL
Grandon

"When Lester, Eddy, and Jasmine were outside, and sure that no one had seen them leave the temple, they began walking home.

"What happened?" Jasmine asked as they started.

"I guess it was a miracle?" Eddy joked.

"A miracle!? Don't spout any of that magic to me," Jasmine said contemptuously.

"It is a mystery though," Lester said." Where do you suppose that guy went?"

"Perhaps he was taken up to heaven," Jasmine said sarcastically, now she was on to the game.

"Yeah, that must be it," Eddy laughed.

"You two are hopeless," Lester said a little disgusted.

Deciding to be serious for a moment, Jasmine asked, "Did we really hear a voice? Could we have just imagined it? It was very spooky."

"We couldn't all have imagined it," Eddy said.

"Besides, we all saw the organist when he came in, and certainly heard the organ. Why would he have been gone when we came down?" Lester asked. They all agreed they really did hear the voice and that they might never know why they were not caught.

When they reached Lester's house, Lester asked Jasmine if she would be walking to school with them the next morning.

"I'm riding my bike," she said.

"See you tomorrow then," Lester said, and Eddy and Jasmine walked home together.



Eddy lives with his father, Arthur, his mother, Eustis, his three sisters Terry the youngest, Veronica and Susan, both older then he is. Eddy looks like his father who is tall and dark, at least Eddy has his full head of black hair which is always a little tossled.

The Blake's house is almost directly across the street from the Jackson's where Jasmine lives with her Father, Thomas, an Aunt Esther, since her mother passed away, an older brother Anthony, and a younger sister Natally. Though they say she looks like her mother, who was a beautiful woman, Jasmine doesn't really look like anyone else, at least not all the time. She has one of those expressive faces that can whither a rose with her scowl or light up a heart with her smile.

Eddy and Jasmine have known each other since before they went to school and when younger, when not outside, which they usually were, if Eddy was not at the Jackson's house, then Jasmine was at the Blake's.

Eddy and Jasmine didn't meet Lester Moore until they started school but they became friends almost from the moment they met.

The Moore's house is about six blocks from where Eddy and Jasmine live. Lester lives with his Mother Terry, his older brother Franklin, and his younder twin brothers, James and Earnest. Lester's father, John Moore, died when Lester was four and his twin brothers were less than a year old. His father had a very successful furniture and cabinet business which he ran from the big barn that was next to the house. After her husband's death, Mrs. Moore, was determined to keep the business going which, with the help of her husband's best friend and only employee, Donald Nast, she did, but it required everyone in the family to contribute whatever work they could.

Though Lester is the same age as Jasmine and Eddy, in some ways he seems older probably because of his responsibility in helping to keep his mother's business going.



They didn't see each other again until after school the next day. Jasmine was riding her bike slowly beside Lester and Eddy on their way home.

They were just passing the house of the old man everyone called, "Grandon," who was sitting on his front porch.

Most people didn't know if "Grandon" was his first name or his last name because that is all anyone ever called him. Most children were afraid of the old man and would avoid walking by his house. Most adults avoided him too.

Shocking Lester, both Jasmine and Eddy called out to him as they were passing, "Hi Grandon."

"Oh, it's you, Jasmine?" How are you Darlin'?" the old man grimaced, but it was supposed to a smile. "And how are you Eddy?"

"We're doing fine, thank you Sir," Eddy said.

"And how are you?" Jasmine asked?

"Do you remember how I was the last time you asked, honey?"

"Yeh, I do."

"Well, I'm still the same," he chuckled at his own little joke.

"That's good," Jasmine said. "See you later."

Lester looked positively shocked. "How do you know him?" he asked when they were a little way beyond his house.

"I've always known him. He's very nice," Jasmine said.

"Very nice!? Most people are afraid of him and I've always heard he's a grouch who doesn't like children."

"Well, he doesn't like most of them," she admitted, "but he likes me, and Eddy. We visit him a lot. He lets us look at some of the things he has, from all over the world, pictures, and books, and guns, and he knows just about everything."

"I think I'd like to meet him," Lester said.

"Wouldn't you be afraid?" Jasmine teased.

"I wouldn't be afraid of him, but you said he doesn't like most children. He might not like me. Why doesn't he like most children?"

"Because they're afraid of him. He doesn't like anyone who is afraid of him, in fact, he doesn't like anyone who is afraid of anything," Jasmine explained.

"I can see why he likes you, Jasmine," Lester said.

Lester didn't seem to notice how much what he said pleased Jasmine, but Eddy noticed. He didn't say anything about it 'til they had left Lester at his house.

"Lester really likes you, Jasmine," Eddy said.

"Oh, Eddy. Just because he notices I'm not afraid. He's just a friend, you know," Jasmine said trying to dismiss the comment.

"I don't think so. He wouldn't have let any other girl go with us to that Shealist temple."

"Perhaps he didn't notice I am a girl," Jasmine said.

Eddy stopped walking. "Jasmine, it is impossible to not notice you are a girl."

"Why Eddy! That's the second nice thing someone has said to me today. I'm about to swell and bust!" she exclaimed.



Here is how it happens that Jasmine and Eddy know Grandon.

When Jasmine was a very little girl, she was roller skating on the walk that went past old Grandon's house, when she fell right in front of his porch and cut her knee. Grandon happened to be sitting on his porch, and when he saw Jasmine fall, he jumped up and ran down the stairs to her. He carried her to the porch and sat her in a chair then went into the house, returning with a wash cloth, mecurichrome, and a bandage.

"What's your name, Sweetheart?" he asked while cleaning the cut knee.

"Jasmine Jackson, Sir," she said.

"What a pretty name," the gruff old man said. "My name is Grandon."

"I know, Mr. Grandon, sir. All the kids are afraid of you," she said.

"Aren't you afraid of me," he asked.

"No sir. I'm not afraid of anything, and you're nice," she said.

"How do you feel now," he asked when the repairs had been made.

"It still hurts," she said.

"Perhaps you should sit for a minute. Would you like some lemonade?" the old man asked.

"Yes please," she said.

The old man went inside and came out in a few minutes with lemonade, and Jasmine sat talking with the old man who said funny things that made her laugh until she felt better and went home.

Old Grandon never invited Jasmine back, but Jasmine begin making uninvited visits, which were never discouraged. They were never long. Jasmine would sit in one of Grandon's porch rockers beside old Grandon and they would rock and talk a little. Sometime Grandon would offer her lemonade or some other drink, then Jasmine would leave.

One day when Grandon answered the nock at his door there stood Jasmine holding the hand of a little boy, which she held up as way of introduction, "this is my friend Eddy."

"Hello, Eddy," Mr. Grandon said, holding out his hand. Eddy grasped it as well as could and said grinning, "Hello sir. I'm happy to meet you!"

They hadn't come for a visit that day, just for Jasmine to introduce Eddy to Mr. Grandon, but they would visit on other days, many other days.

***