I say 1970 because I think that is about the time we began having a gentleman come to our house on Saturday mornings to do handyman and other odd jobs. His name was James Knight and he worked with my Aunt at Bowld Hospital. My Aunt ran the Housekeeping Department there for years and I believe James worked in her department.
James rode a bicycle to our house from his apartment just off Danny Thomas. I mention this because in the summer of 1970 I was seven and bicycles were everything to kids my age. It was the first sense of freedom boys my age could grasp. Back then you could ride your bike around the neighborhood without fear of the things we fear today.
Even after working all morning at our house James would make sure he had enough time to go on a ride with me. We would ride through the neighborhood, he on his gold bike that had seen better days and me on my red second hand Schwinn. We would ride past Bellevue Baptist Church, around to Stewart Brothers Hardware and sometimes as far as the fire station at Jefferson & Pauline. Those rides were so much fun. He would point out buildings or people he knew along the way.
I’m fuzzy on the details of James. When you’re 7 you don’t ask too much about a person’s background or how they became the person they are. I believe at one point he mentioned (or maybe my Aunt said) that he served in the War. I don’t remember ever talking about it with him but I bet that if he did serve that he did so with honor and bravery. Even at my young age I could tell that he was a good man and that he just wanted to be known as a person who worked hard and was a friend to all he met. I didn’t keep up with James after he stopped coming to our house. I guess at some point I became the odd job kid. My Aunt would mention his name from time to time that she had run into him at the store or when she would visit her friends at the hospital after she retired.
I do not know what became of James Knight, I’m sure he has passed on to his reward. I hope that reward is worthy of an old riding friend.