For the four years (1960-1964) I was in college I would pass him most everyday. I would pass him as I was going from my classes to work at the Terre Haute First National Bank. A place where I had started working when I was a sophomore in high school in 1957 and continued until I graduated college in 1964. Rain, sleet, snow, or sunshine made little difference he would either be on the corner of 7th & Wabash or sitting in front of the bank in mid block.
Pretty paper, pretty ribbons of blue, wrap your presents to you darling from you
Pretty pencils to write I love you/ Pretty paper, pretty ribbons of blue,
Christmas is neigh; there he sits all alone on the sidewalk
Hoping you won't pass him by, should you stop, better not
Much too busy, you're in a hurry, my how time does fly,
In the distance the ringing of laughter and in the mist of the
Laughter he cries, pretty paper, pretty ribbons of blue
Wrap your presents to your darling from you, pretty pencils
To write I love you, pretty paper, pretty ribbons of blue...
Over the years ever time I hear this song I think of Jimmy. The song was written in the early 1960s', 63 I think. It was written by Willie Nelson and the first big hit and still to this day my favorite version, was done by the man from Wink, Texas, Roy Orbison. Nelson once when ask about the origin of the song told the story that the was such a man who sat out front of Leonard's department store in a town in Texas.
There are a lot of "Jimmy's" around in most all of our towns, still today. The question comes back to us as it does in the lyrics of the song:
And sadly, "In the mist of the laughter he cries."