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Archive for May, 2006

Because to sup of the nectar is forbidden during office hours.

It was mid-morning, and Nic sat at my desk while I sat at the reception desk. Both our heads were bent to the task, one of us occasionally breaking the loaded idyll to shoot a thought at the other.

The task I speak of was one involving a skill learned in girlhood: We were braiding together three fine bands of color –crimson and lime green and the tenderest of pinks– from thirty-eight cent skeins of embroidery thread. A knot in the end, some tape to secure the hank to the desk, and braid away into eight- and ten-inch lengths of teeny plait. This task was purposeful and hopeful: We were waiting to hear from Gary, Nic’s brother.

Gary’s done two tours of Iraq already. The first time he came home there was extended leave and a huge fourth of July celebration. The second time, his huge, rowdy-assed Alabammy family just met him in New Yawk. Gary was just about to shove off for his third stay in sand flea heaven when something happened. He was running PT early one morning last week and out of nowhere went ass over teakettle; he didn’t even know what had happened. A visit to the clinic led to a visit to the hospital and that led to a specialist. The upper lobe of his left lung was a sheet of solid white in the sea of black that diagnostic imaging proffers up and a biopsy was scheduled.

The military moves painfully slowly in such situations and that is why we waited semi-quietly today, making fine braids of crimson and lime (his two favorite colors) and pink (the color of a healthy lung) and holding hope in our insides, willing that hope into our piddly handiwork.

The braids were for bracelets…shows of support, reminders to utter a little prayer for Gary.

“Hey Nic…”


“What if we don’t even need these things? We’re gonna feel like such assholes.”

“Nah. We can wear them anyway.”

“Yeah, I guess.



“I sure do hope I get to feel like an asshole.”

|| May 1, 2006 || 7:25 pm || Comments (1) ||

For the ends of Being and ideal Grace

“Momma, I’m sixty pounds. The doctor telleded me that.”

“Yes Mathias, I know; I was there.”

He ponders this for a bit. This is how he works…he processes things for a while; he links them up in his head and then says the most amazing things five, ten, even fifteen minutes later.

“Okay, when I am a grown-up, how much will I weigh then?”

“Well, based on Papaw Ben (his paternal great-grandfather) and Grandpa Mike (his paternal grandfather) and daddy, somewhere in the neighborhood of one-hundred seventy or one-hundred eighty pounds.”

“Seventy or eighty pounds?”

“No,” I raise my voice, because he is way back in the very back of the Magic Superior Stealth Vehicle, little moonface floating dead center in my rearview mirror, “one-hundred seventy or eighty pounds.”


He seems satisfied with my answer, and we ride in silence for a good fifteen or so miles. It is a deceptive silence, making me forget just exactly who he is. I do this sometimes, because he is seven and seven is about pulling rubbery faces and whining in spite of yourself and never being able to keep up with anyone at anytime and ohgodwhydon’tIgetit??

He is different, and this is evidenced in the way he surprises me with his depth and breadth of thought over and over again.

“Mommy, when I am one-hundred and seventy pounds I will love you just like I did when I was seventy pounds.”

“Oh Mathias! And even when I am eighty-seven and you are sixty years old, you will still be my baby boy.”

This marks the first time I’ve ever pulled over a vehicle to kiss a child’s sweet face rather than tan his hide: I will never, never forget quite what this feels like.