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My nephew Tony loved hanging out with me.

We would play basketball, go to baseball games, and, on this occasion, he helped me with a paper route.

Run Tony! Run!

I love all my nieces and nephews, but I had the closest relationship with my nephew Tony. We would play basketball, go to baseball games, and hang out just to hang out.

Laura got a paper route to help subsidize her income after we split up. I would often deliver it on the nights that our children stayed with her. This was in the early 1990s, and motion sensor lights were uncommon. The first one I ever saw, in fact, was on a mobile home where the owner had a subscription to the paper on the route Laura delivered.

Tony called me one evening to see if he could spend the night. I told him he could, but he would have to help me deliver the papers in the morning. He agreed.

We got up before sunrise, retrieved the papers for the route, and set out to deliver them that Saturday morning. I drove the car and folded the papers. Tony took the folded papers and delivered them to the doorsteps of the subscribers.

I decided to take advantage of that new technology on the mobile home to play a trick on him. When we neared the mobile home with the motion sensor light, I cautioned Tony that an old Vietnam vet lived in that unit. I warned him that he sometimes does not remember that the war is over, and has been known to confront people on his porch with a shotgun believing they are enemy combatants.

"Be very quiet going up the ramp," I told him. "Just get the paper into the tube, and get off the ramp just as quietly. If the light comes on, you need to move fast. He will likely think he’s back in Nam." We left the passenger door open just in case we needed to make a quick escape.

Tony was a good soldier. He tiptoed the paper up the ramp as quietly as he could. He reached out carefully to put the paper into the tube, which also was just within the motion sensor’s scope. The light came on just as he was putting the paper where it belonged.

He took off running down the ramp as fast as he could. I was yelling, "Run Tony! Run!," as I was pulling away just fast enough to keep him from gaining access to the car. "Faster! Faster!"

He yelled back, "Stop Uncle Tom!" I slowed down enough that he could finally jump into the car.

"Man, that was close," he told me, but I could not hold back my laughter. I told him what had happened, and said we would stop to get donuts and hot chocolate to make up for it.

Tony has a great sense of humor. He thought it was hilarious, and would tell people for many years that it was the best joke anyone ever played on him . . . well, until the next one, but that is another story!

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