Yesterday, Calvin went outside (without permission, I might add), and started conversing with our elderly neighbor from across the street. Calvin and Zeeb both love Brother Barker, a physicist who provides compelling conversation to my two small boys, and who takes walks up and down the street every single day with his rolling walker. The walker has fancy wheels, hand brakes, and a cushioned seat that flips up to reveal a secret compartment where Brother Barker keeps his gloves, clippers, and bean seeds. Calvin and Zeeb take turns riding the seat while Brother Barker drives.Well yesterday, Calvin went out and walked with Brother Barker. I knew he was out there, but went first into the backyard to find Zeeb and make sure he hadn’t gotten swallowed by the sandbox. Calvin came sauntering into the backyard and said, “Mom, Brother Barker fell in the gutter and I’m going to get him a band-aid.”

His tone of voice was calm and neutral, so it took me a few seconds to process what he had said. When it hit me, I ran out to the front of the house, where Brother Barker was crumpled in the very deep ditch. A woman who had been passing by had stopped to help, but it took both of us to lift him onto the curb to sit. He was bleeding from his hand and from his forehead. I surveyed the wounds and was alarmed by the very large, protruding welt on his temple. It stood out about and inch, and appeared to be full of blood under his translucent skin. As I tried to determine if he was lucid, I watched the blood drip from his hand.

I ran across the street to find Brother Barker’s wife, who did not seem alarmed. She came out and we all helped him to his feet. A neighbor girl went to fetch her father, and just as we got across the street to his house, Brother Barker’s grandson arrived. As soon as I returned to my own house, I gathered my boys in my arms and cried.

Later, Sister Barker called from the hospital to ask how Brother Barker had fallen. The doctor had questioned him, but he couldn’t remember how he fell. I gave my best estimation, that his walker had gone over the lip of the sidewalk as he tried to navigate his way around a gigantic pine tree that partly obscures the way. That section of the sidewalk and curb are old and crumbling.

This morning, Sister Barker called again to tell me that Brother Barker stayed in the hospital last night, and is expected to stay another night. He has some bleeding in his brain that needs to stop before they discharge him. He is expected to recover fully. Sister Barker then asked how Calvin was taking it. She worried that he would be traumatized. I am amazed that she could have the presence of mind, and the charity, to worry about the 5-year-old neighbor child, when her own husband of many, many years had had such an accident.

I am also so proud of my sweet boy, who, without hesitation, tried to help a man who was bleeding. I am so glad he came to find me. I am grateful there was someone else on the street to help lift him.

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