Art woke early, he had forgotten about his finger, until he reached for the bedclothes, the clumsy bandage a splint caught in the covers and it all came back to him. He slid quietly out of bed and to the window, where by pressing his face to the extreme left edge he could see part way into the garage. He saw the morning sun bounce off the tail light of his father’s old truck. Art was at once relieved and distressed to see his dad was safely home. He was eager to see his dad and to hear news of “Puppa”, as he called his grandfather.
Art slipped back in bed, he hated to stay in bed but he did not want to see his dad just yet. Then he heard his father on the hall stairs, Art started to get tense, his mind raced through several fanciful tales that might get him out of trouble with his dad. The door opened and there he was looking up at his dad’s 6’4” frame into his blue blue eyes that were searching his.
After a long moment Hank spoke, “Your grandfather sends his love .” Art grateful for a small reprieve asked, “How is he?” Hank’s eyes looked away for just a second then back at his son, “Lord knows, but it does not look very good.” Hank paused feeling the weight of his own words, and knowing they would be heavy on his son.
Hank stepped toward his son pointed at his bandaged hand and said, “Why don’t you tell me about that?” Art raised his hand a little staring at it intently, a lie came so easily to his mind, he looked back at his father and the lie disappeared. Stammering with emotion Art said, “I cut my finger off, I, I, I, wanted to make a shelf for mother, so I used the big saw and it, it cut me.”
Art’s dad was now sitting on the edge of the bed with one big and warm hand on Art’s back. Art began to sob at his father’s gentile touch, he blurted it all out and concluded with a barely understandable “I’m Sorry!” tears dripping from his chin.
‘Art”, his father spoke evenly, “You have disobeyed me and the consequences affect the whole family, there is the Doctor bill and your chores will have to be done by someone else until your hand heals.”
Art reflexively interjected, “I’ll help pay, I have some money in my bank.” His father said, “ Very well, you will pay for the glass and putty to repair the shop window.” He went on, “After breakfast we will go down and clean up the shop, you made quite a mess there.” Art asked, “What about the cows.” Art’s dad stood and heading for the door replied, “All done for this morning, no one milked last night they were glad to see me this morning.” Art exclaimed apologetically, “I forgot, and mother put me right to bed.” His father, glad to hear his son willing to take a measure of responsibility, smiled and replied, “We’ll get it together again. Now get dressed, your mother has breakfast ready and you have some work to do.”