A Gingersnap Smile (Paperback)
"I will be your hero, Grandpa," a na ve young boy assures a man whom he once thought was the devil's helper. Will Rivers had mistaken illness for evil and was making up for it with comforting words. But they were words with promise and the road between a promise-given and a promise-kept can be laden with emotional pitfalls. He meets a young lady, ultimately the love of his life, but their first encounter was not promising. He pulled her ponytail and called her a "snaggle-tooth." In return, she gave him a permanent mark on his shin and another more enduring mark, the gingersnap smile. Will shares a soulful admission, "So, I was mean to her, but...I didn't know I loved her, then." That gingersnap smile became the symbol of his life with Grandpa. Will befriends Bobby, a young man from a rough neighborhood who introduces the concept of a "neutral deed," one that was neither good nor bad. When the police tell their story of the great electric wheelchair race, you'd think Will and Bobby were a couple of vandals on a joyride at Grandpa's expense. Will's attempt to keep his promise led to a political birthday party where, in an old video, a young Boy Scout proclaims, "A black man can't chase a bus in this country without catching a hassle How's he gonna chase his dreams." Through the influence of that old video, Will concludes, "I guess yesterday really does matter." His decision to "kidnap" Grandpa led to the yelling match of the century wherein Will's father proclaims, "You touch my father and I'll beat you like a man beats a man It won't be father and son between us " Seeing whether Will keeps his promise justifies an evening with "A Gingersnap Smile."