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I don't know what made November 20th 1950 any different from any other day. Just because it was my forth birthday was no big deal. There were no parties or gifts given us kids for any special occasion at the orphanage, much less a day as unimportant as a birthday.

I sat quietly in my room, located in a white brick dormitory building, just looking out my window. I watched as a monarch butterfly circled around the blooming azalea bush two stories below. I was not happy, nor was I sad. Every day at the orphanage was exactly the same as the one that preceded it. It was just another day; another sunrise and just another sunset and then it was time to go to bed. The routine repeated itself again, starting the next morning.

"Happy Birthday," said someone, from behind me, whom made me jump.

I turned to see four-year-old Billy Smith standing behind me.

"Why you got your hand behind you, Billy?"

"I got a present for you Dean."

He slid both his hands from behind his back and slowly opened his right fist, exposing a four leaf clover.

"I want you to have this here lucky clover for your birthday."

"I can't take that lucky clover, Billy. "That's the lucky four leaf kind."

The day before, we boys were raking the leaves and pine-straw from the orphanage grounds when we ran across a large patch of dark green clover. The story began to surface that anyone who found a four leaf clover would get to make a wish and that the wish would come true, no matter what.

It was little Billy Smith who found the clover.

"I wish I could go home to my mommy and daddy," said Billy, as he stood on the side of the clover patch, looking up at the dark forming clouds appearing in the sky.

No one said a word, as the group of boys disbanded and once again began raking.

"But yesterday you made a wish Billy and lucky clovers are only good for one wish."

"My wish just don't count, 'cause."

"Cause why?'

"Just 'cause."

"Just 'cause why?"

"It's 'cause my mommy and daddy are dead. They won't ever come to get me 'cause they're dead. I'll just have to live here till I die."

"Maybe another mommy and daddy will come and get you instead."

"I done made my wish and now it don't count no way. So I want you to make a wish that counts."

Slowly, I reached out and lifted the flattened clover from his palm. I closed my eyes and made a wish. Then I handed the clover back to Billy.

"Did you wish for a mommy and daddy?"


"What did you wish for?"

"I wished that my mother would come and hug me one day, just one time so I know what she smells like."

Billy walked over, placed his arms around me and hugged as tightly as he could. In total surprise, I just stood there with my arms dangling at my sides.

"Billy, are you like a queer like person?" I whispered.

"What's that?"

"I think it is men who hug men people. That's what I hear the boys say at the Spring Park School Building."

"My daddy hugged me a long time ago and I wanted you to know what it felt like."

"But I didn't feel nothin' at all Billy."

"I know."

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