Ode to Mr Lollypop man

lollypop man puppet

Every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday morning in this new life here in Surbiton, after dropping Alexa at school (226 metres from home), I load Charis and her pink scooter of joy into the car and fight traffic along the Hook Road all the way to Chessington and her preschool.  As frustrating commutes go, it isn’t too bad, but neither is it stress free. So we get to Chessington, a little bit grumpy, always late. We park up, get out the
scooter, pack lunch, coat, spare clothes (still need them), toy-who-must-not-be-left, put back the ice-scraper, fight over whether that tree branch from the park the other day comes or stays in the car, and we’re
off.

When we get to the zebra crossing, there he is:
the world’s most cheerful, professional, reliable lollypop man.  And the sun comes out.

The first few times I encountered the lollypop man I was not a fan. I dreaded crossing the road with his assistance and on several occasions I risked my life by crossing further up.  He was just a little too enthusiastic about his job.  Day one, I was coming back to the car, no child with me or even in the vicinity and little traffic on the road.  As I went to cross, Mr LPM held me back, with a polite but firm, “Stand behind me here please, love.” I formed an orderly queue of one, and watched horrified as he marched to the middle of the road, stopping traffic in both directions with outstretched arms and a flourishof his lolly pop. “Over you come now. Have a nice day and I’ll see you this afternoon!”

But here’s the thing. I have come to regard Mr LPM with a degree of awe. Few little boys growing up
would aspire to a professional life spent helping children and their accompanying adults cross the road (or adults by themselves as the case may be). While many of us have nostalgic affection for the role, few of us would happily don the neon uniform in pouring rain and greet the world with a smile day after day. My LPM has immense dignity. He stands tall, and wealds his authority over the road with a quiet strength. Our safety is his primary concern.

And so I usually drive home in a better frame of mind, gently chastened by the morning’s cheery interaction, and in the sure knowledge that at 3pm, there he’ll be again, doing his job to the best of his ability.  I am reminded of the words of Jesus in Luke16:10, “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much.”
Can I be trusted with the little things I am tasked with today? I am inspired to up my game.

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