Wednesday, January 09, 2008


Eli 6.5 missed a stair today at school, fell, roughed up his shin, and got a little cut near his eyebrow.

Gloria talked to him on the phone and said he was crying pretty hard, so she drove to the school to check on him. He was better by then, and all the kids in his class were being so nice to him that he decided to stay.

When he came home after school, I walked out of my study as he walked into the house.

"Hi, Dad," he said in a somber tone.

"Hey, buddy!" I said.

"I guess you know that I fell," he said. He pulled up his pants leg to show me the long scrape on his shin, then stuck his face forward and pointed to his eye.

"Little man, I'm really proud of you," I said.

"You are?" he asked.

"Sure," I said. "You've been really tough about this."

"I have?"

"Yes," I said. "Haven't you?"

"Well"--he said, pausing, then drawing himself up to his full height--"YES I HAVE."

That was the first conversation we had. About an hour later, he was sitting on the couch, looking a little discouraged.

"Boy, it's lucky you got hurt today instead of when I was a kid," I said.

"Why?" he asked.

"When I cut my head in first grade," I said (long story), "my mom took me to the vet."

"The vet? Why didn't you have a doctor?" he asked.

"My town was so small we couldn't afford a doctor," I said. "All we could afford is a horse."

"Then how did you get a vet?" he asked.

"Well, somebody had to look after the horse," I said.


"I'm serious," I said. "I was all covered in blood, but mom made me walk to the vet, and he put big horse stitches in my head. Then I walked home, mom hosed me down with water to get rid of the blood, and I had to walk back to school in wet clothes."


Tonight, he was looking at his face in the mirror--the area around his eyebrow is a little swollen, and a little discolored. I walked up and said "Maybe you'll get a black eye tomorrow," I said, "If you're lucky."

"Oh, no!" he said. "I don't want a black eye!"

"Are you kidding me?" I asked. "I'd take pictures!"

"You would?"

"Of course!" I said. "Then I'd find a picture of a boxer on the Internet and put your head on his body. It would be great!"

Gloria walked in.

"MOM!" Eli shouted, raising his arms in the air. "MY FIRST BLACK EYE!"

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