Davide Castel Davide Castel
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(")No one's died yet....."

Deborah Boydston Deborah Boydston
Recommendations: 45

Did I miss something? How did the mom know that Jim caused the problem? From the prior paragraph I was under the assumption that they had not had a chance to discuss the problem yet.

Jim Miller Jim Miller
Recommendations: 29

I intended the preceeding paragraph to be understood as Mom had her way and asked Bob those questions that she needed to ask. Otherwise, how would she know where to search for him. Sorry it's unclear. I'll try to "clean it up".

Deborah Boydston Deborah Boydston
Recommendations: 45

...I cant (feel) my toes!...

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Jim Miller Jim Miller
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She had a friend.

Winter, beautiful, but deadly.

Two small brothers played upon the smooth ice of the pond---one brother mysterious and quiet, the other fun loving and expectant---both to be shattered by a future that lay just beyond them.  

The screaming of their high pitched voices merged with the “skating” of heavy boots over the cracking ice beneath them.  If they would have been older, they would have been concerned, but at their age, the cracking ice was just a part of the game.  The older began to stomp on the ice, trying to induce fear in the younger.  He didn’t, but he got “more than he bargained for” and the ice broke beneath them.  They fell to their waists in the frigid water.

Their high pitched screaming was now redoubled in intensity, and took on a timbre of shock and fear rather than delight.  But no one heard.  The barren fields and trees had no ears.  They did not care as two young boys smashed ice to get to shore.

“Let’s get home,” the eldest instructed.  His brave façade did not match the strength of the fear that squeezed his heart and mind.  They mounted their prized possessions; a pair of old bikes, and began the difficult journey home.

The north wind did not cooperate and opposed them, blowing into their faces as they rushed home.  “Peddle faster, Bob, “The older exhorted the younger.  “We have to make it home before we freeze!”  Soon the wind painted their cheeks red and ice began to freeze on their coveralls.  “Don’t stop!” Jim warns, “We have to make it home!”    

“But I’m so cold!”  Bob whimpers, “It hurts!””

“I hurt, too!  We’re half-way home!  The house will be warm and Mom will have warm clothes for us to wear and hot coco for us to drink.  Just keep going.  We’ll make it!”

“I can’t feel my legs anymore!”  Bob wails.

“But you can still peddle.  Peddle!  Don’t stop peddling!  Keep on going!”

“I can see the house!  We’ll be there soon!”  For the first time he believed they might make it.  Bob put his head down and peddled.  Even at his young age he knew that his life depended on it.  He no longer shivered.  He was passed that.

After forever, he turned into the lane that went up to the house.  The trees which circled the farmstead reduced the wind a bit and for the first time since starting out for home he had some relief.  He dumped his bike on its side on the frozen ground and walked on numb legs up the sidewalk.

It was then that he noticed his brother was no longer beside him.  He startled in horror.  Jim was still out in the cold!

He made more noise than necessary coming into the house.  He wanted to alert his mother that this was an emergency.  "Mom!  We’ve got to go out and get Jim!”  He shouted, frightened and concerned. 1 comment

Mom wanted to ask Bob a lot of questions like---what had happened, and where had they been playing.  She did, even though Bob was time pressured, and wanted to get started right away.  After all, Jim was out there freezing in the cold.  “I want to go along and help find him,” Bob cried, “he died saving me!”

"No one’s died yet, and he’s the one that caused this situation.  Not you!  But I’ll go out right away and get him.   You stay here and put on some warm, dry clothes and thaw out by the furnace.” 3 comments

Bob watched her run out to the car, start it up, and leave without warming it up.  He did as his mom instructed and put on some fresh clothes and then huddled by the furnace.  If his legs and feet hadn’t hurt before, they did now---and ten times more!  It felt like thousands of needles stabbing into his legs and toes.  He felt like he couldn’t bear the pain.

Then the front door opened partially.  “Bob, come help!  Your brother’s in bad shape!”  Bob attempted to stand, but the pain was unbearable.  His eyes filled with tears and he silently cursed himself for his weakness.  

“Mom, I can’t stand up!” he wailed.  She was forced to lever the door open as best as she could by herself, and entered holding Jim.  He dangled limp and barely moving; he made soft noises, like some week and pathetic animal.   “Move!” she said ferociously.  She was in the process of protecting her young.  She deposited him on the carpeted floor by the furnace and took off his outer clothes.  “I’m calling the doctor,” she stated after she was done, and went to the ‘phone.

Bob was beginning to shiver again.  He looked at Jim who was talking nonsense.  He spoke to Jim, hoping he could hear, "I know you didn't know what you were doing when you stamped on the ice.  Its breaking surprised you as much as me.  I'm so glad you kept me going on the road.  No matter what happens, thanks for being you. You're a devil of a good brother."

Mom returned laden down with blankets.  She lifted Jim on the couch and covered him with blankets.  She made Bob a nest on the floor beside him and covered him up. Then she left them and was banging cabinet doors in the bathroom and the kitchen.  Soon the noise stopped and they heard her running water in the kitchen sink.  She returned carrying two hot water bottles, both full.  She reached under Jim's covers and placed one of them in his groin region, and one under an armpit.

She cuddled her boys softly, and then spoke to Bob.  There is going to be an ambulance coming to pick Jim up and take him to the hospital.  You can stay home with me and we'll watch TV together.  He will be OK.  They just need to take care of him better than I can.

Bob was crying now.  "Mama!  I can't feel my toes!  They hurt so bad!  Please  make it stop!" he begged her. 1 comment

"Oh honey!  I can't!"  She felt helpless.  "Don't rub them.  The doctor says so."

The TV might distract him she thought, and turned it on to one of his favorite cartoon channels.

Then she turned her attention to Jim.  Holding her lips lightly to his cheeks she cooed to him.  "It's OK.  You're in where its warm now.  Just warm up.  Someone will be here to help soon."  Then she checked his hot water bottles to see if they were still warm.  She removed them, carried them to the sink, and rewarmed them.  

Mommy!  Mommy!  I can't stand it any more!  My feet hurt!  They feel like blocks.

She carried the water bottles to Jim and reinserted them in his groin area again and other arm pit.

Then she went to Bob.  "Pretend your feet feel all better again. and don't hurt at all."

Red blinking lights came up the lane and the ambulance backed up to the sidewalk.  Two personnel got out and approached the house with a gurney.  After a few words with Mrs. Miller, they did an exam on Jim, then bundled him up for transport and put him in the ambulance.

“You’ll be OK, Jim.”  Bob kept on saying.  Even when they shut the outer door, Bob kept reassuring,  “You’ll be OK.”

After watching the lights of the ambulance recede in the distance, Mom returned to reach under the covers and rub Bob’s back.  “You know, this will all be done soon and you’ll feel all better.”


“Lille pinky-swear promise.”  She held up the pinky finger of her right hand and then realized what she was doing.”  She cupped his small right hand in between her two larger hands and noted that it was still cold.  “No little pinky-swear right now.  You have to get all better first.  Then we can.  We’ll have to little pinky-swear in our hearts for now.”

“Can we little pinky-swear for Jim in our hearts, too?”

Tears began to build up more than she could hold back and flooded down her cheeks,”Of course, we should little pinky-swear for Jim in our hearts, too.”

“Mommy, you know what?  I learned some things.”

“What dear?”

“When old man ice’s back starts to crack you get off.  It’s lot’s better’n him throwin’ you in the water.”

“Yes dear.”  The tears were stopped but still very wet on her cheeks.

“And it’s not good to get wet in cold weather.”  He reached up to brush a tear from her cheek, and she let him use his hand this time  She grinned, halfway.  

“There will be healing she cuddled him softly.  And your daddy will be home soon.  You will be all better and Jim will get better, too.”

"Just a second.  You want some hot coco?" she asked.

He nodded, yes, "Jim said you would make us hot coco!"  Bob brightened.

"He's a pretty smart big brother, isn't he?"  And she got she got up to make some hot coco.


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