My big friend John struggled also, like my son Len, with dyslexia, probably even more so because he lived a generation earlier than my son, but the principle of the christian school, who was at the end of his wits as what to do with John, got him some tools and started him out repairing bikes for the students. It proved to be a marvelous idea helping not only him getting rid of a student hindering others in their progress, but John loved his new jobs which he could manage, and the students had no worries about flat tires or broken chains anymore.
Meanwhile John’s fame of bicycle repairman went all over the town and students of the public as well as the catholic schools searched him out in the coal shed of his own school where he operated what he called John’s bicycle shop. When he liked a girl client he greased and oiled her bike and cleaned it so she picked up a what looked and operated like a brand new one. All for free, with the compliments of John’s bicycle shop. While John’s reading and writing did not improve, neither did hid his self worth suffer.
My big friend wrote two letters during his life, one from Canada to a friend in his hometown and one to me. The first letter circulated all over the town where people he once called his friends had a good laugh about his ‘stupid writing.’ Deeply humiliated and extremely angry John swore not ever to write a letter again. However years later he did. To me.
He collected stamps, and one time had his eyes set on a particular beautiful but also very expensive stamp. Besides it had to be stamped by the town it originated from and chances he would get one like that were very slim. Anyways, I went to the local post office and purchased the stamp, had the postmaster stamp ABBOTSFORD across it, and send it to my friend. Not long after I received a return letter starting out with – You are my friend. You saved my day,
I found one more letter from John addressed to me that I had forgotten. It also had to do with stamps, but I forgot the circumstances. I will have the letter posted with the story, including a translation into English, but without the spelling mistakes.
Dear Lex Smid
I have found your paper. And now I will send it to you before I loose it again. I hope that you can do something with it. And I would like it very much that you save the stamps for me. And bring them with you when you come over here again.
Have a nice day,
Many people don’t know John as I did. For instance, they do not know that when John was made ready to have his leg amputated, that he grabbed the hands of the doctors on each side of the operation table and said ‘Stop, before you gonna cut my leg off, I wanna pray.’
It was very quiet in the operation room when John asked God to strengthen the grips of the doctors on the knives so they would not slip.
“I’m ready if you are,” he said, and they were.
And then they proceeded.