I remember when I was little, maybe around 6, going to some type of outdoor market with my father. I remember bushel baskets of apples and other fruits and vegetables all around. I had on a light jacket, so it was either spring or early fall.
I found a metal pole and was merrily swinging around it (you know, one hand holding the pole and then leaning out and swinging around).
My father walked by and I grabbed hold of his hand. I skipped along watching the ground. I don't know if it is all kids or just me, but I was always looking at the ground and not where I was walking. I walked into a street pole once, but that is another story.
Suddenly, a familiar voice barked out my name loudly. I froze. I quickly looked up at the stranger whose hand I was holding, and all in one motion, dropped it and ran back to my father.
I got a bit of a scolding from my Dad to pay more attention. At the time I think I was more upset because my Dad was upset, not out of fear of the stranger.
Thinking back on it, I wonder if that stranger was just another Dad that was used to little hands grabbing his and thought nothing of it. Or did he realize I didn't belong to him. How far would he have walked with me had my father not noticed? Did I simply grab his hand? Or did he put it out to me? I like to think that he was as surprised as I was. I like to think the world was more innocent back then. I guess we will never know.
I'm just glad my father was paying more attention then I was.