It was the first day of school. Eli  had a big breakfast of bacon and eggs, brushed his teeth, and had put on his new shirt, compliments of grandma, then strapped on his empty backpack. Soon it would be full of books and tablets, and pencils, and things he probably never use. but a full backpack is a good one, he mused.

He thought, secretly,’ It’s about time’;  for summer had run it’s course. Off he went to catch the bus full of exited middle schooler’s with new shirts and equally empty backpacks.

He had been reminded by his mom  “to smile, say yes mam, and thank you. And, don’t take anything at lunch that you are not going to eat”.  That had certainly been his plan ever since he was born……she should know that,  but she had been his mom ever since he was little ; and, she had a job to do….. he, needing the advice or not.

On arrival at the classroom, Mrs. Fletcher greeted them all individually with applause. Eli thought this was pretty weird, but it did seem that she really wanted them there at least for the moment.

She talked some about what they were going to learn and handed out the books. He glanced at the first one… surprised that he could read all the words. But the subject? What are participles, declaratory sentences, compound sentences, and on and on.

Apart from this;  he absolutely had to come to grips with the totally main question of the day: “What is that huge lump on Mrs. Fletcher’s nose ?” He could not stop looking at it.

The day progressed slowly until the last thing of the day ; art. It was his favorite.. Everyone had to come up with a drawing of something in the room. Easy……..he thought; a picture of Mrs. Fletcher, but he could not get the lump on her nose out of his head…..however, he made it GIANT!

As she made the rounds to observe and comment, she came upon Eli’s work. She looked, smiled, and said; “Eli this is sooo special. You are a true artist! “…..then hesitated with ; “Except for the nose. Shouldn’t the lump be a little smaller?”

With that she drew from behind her back her picture that she had drawn. It was Eli’s face complete with a hole in the big smile where his two front teeth used to be. Eli looked at it and laughed; “Isn’t that hole a little BIG ?

Mrs, Fletcher took out her pencil and placed two absolutely perfect teeth in the opening. Her  only comment was: “Well, Eli, both of us can only hope….Right?’

Eli set about to erase and make that lump in his picture a LOT smaller. “How’s that” He exclaimed, as he handed it back………feeling much better about the whole thing.

Mrs Fletcher held it to her chest after showing it to the class , many of whom saw the first drawing, as he shared it  privately, when she was not looking.  She then shared ” Now class, that’s the big lesson to end the day;     

           “Always tell it …….like it could be”.





Please skip the following, first; If you are not a mother or father or grandparent, great grandparent, or don’t know someone who is . 

Second….If you are sure you are not a member of the  human race.

Who did I leave out ?

Proverbs 22 shares with us :”Train up your child in the way he should go, and he will not depart from it.”

Perhaps you share with me the thought that there are often disconnects in society today; and, for a variety of reasons, we may not always be accomplishing the above goal. We have been encouraged to find “new ways” of competing for the attention of our young ones; both boys and girls.

I would submit; How about the OLD ways? How about the “ADVENTURE STORY” and the act of reading it to and with them at the pre- teen age;  In the early spring of their development, before diversion pushes them into the shade of overpowering competition.

I encourage you to recommend this blog that offers an ongoing inventory of diverse and very short stories to help make the case of reading among young boys, Even more: help you plant the seeds of wisdom that you may find within, that are worthy and timely.

Whew,,, that’s it … more.

climbing the tree of life

There was once a little squirrel named Brownie who had finished school for the summer. He had really nothing planned.  His mother told him; “You may spend the day in the forest, but remember to be careful and be back early.

Brownie decided to go as far as he could……so he packed a bag full of nuts; Who knows what he would find , or how hungry he would get?

He bounced (as squirrels do) straight into the forest seeing more huge trees than ever. Each one beckoned him to climb aboard… but no there was always one taller just beyond. Until suddenly a voice sounded from deep inside one huge tree that said; “Brownie, If you climb clear to the top, I will give you the best gift you have ever received .” While Brownie could not even see the top, he shook his tail excitedly and was instantly drawn into the climb, so  curious as to what that gift might be. He said down his bag, and jumped  far into the first branch

After most of the day struggling upward from one limb to another… and another…. his feet and arms were aching; his long tail drooping  between his churning  legs from the continuous pull.

Finally, reaching the very top of the swaying branches, he breathed a sigh and called to the voice; “Now, where is my gift?” Finding after several demands… there was total silence; nothing ….but the wind that moved him, alone, like a pendulum  back and forth  in the treetop.

Sad and disappointed, noting that it was very late and his mother would would be worried,  Brownie turned upside down for the long trip down. But as he did, he took one last look outward and was frozen in place because of what he saw;

Above the carpet of treetops were emerald blue lakes, plunging waterfalls; high mountains covered with snow; green valleys filled with flowers of every color; a rainbow that stretched across the far lands of possible greater wonder. The orange-yellow sun was just fading behind the horizon.

And, all over the landscape were hundreds of  strange animals he could not even name…… just grazing about in little clusters.

Totally breathless from the wonder of it all,  he bounded downward from limb to limb as fast as he could go; so eager was he to share the GIFT that he knew was delivered by the “Voice”.

As he burst into a gathering of friends  and family, who had just sat down for dinner, he caught his breath and told them excitedly all of what he had done and seen  They laughed at his account, prepared to forget the whole unbelievable story. Brownie lowered his head and wiped a tear from his cheek.

Until Johnnie, his little brother, spoke from behind his mother in an equally excited voice;

“Yes,,,,, but what if it’s true?”

Brownie smiled and looked up into the sky.              So did Johnnie






The Birthday Suit-


It was July 30th and at least two things were going to happen on Eli’s 10th birthday. First; he was going to get a new Schwinn bike that he had picked out at Andy’s Bike store, and the other;  he was going to keep secret from everyone….except his two buddies; Bobby and Hank. At least for the time being.

He got his pack all put together for a trip and flew down the stairs. First, to look in the garage to make sure that. “it” was still there. Yup, his beautiful silver mountain bike, with the rack over the chrome back fender……. just raring to go on it’s first journey into the world  beyond.

Eli knew it would be  his first trip right out of the box, so he would have to be easy on him until he felt sure that the bike knew the ropes. And, was “Silver” in for a surprise!.

Back in the house, he added to his pack some fruit out of the bowl on the table, and started for the door. “Hold on there bud”, his mother’s voice came from the stairs.”Your’e not going anywhere without breakfast!”. Eli waited impatiently for the eggs and bacon, wolfed them down with a big glass of orange juice….then bounded out the door with a “Burp! Thank you mom!”

He swung his long legs over Silver’s shiny leather saddle and blasted down the driveway, amazed at the way he sailed along with just a few pedals.

Shortly, he spotted Bobby out front of his house along with Hank….They were instantly blinded by the Silver flash, as he headed for the nearby mountain. Eli absolutely knew it; he had the fastest bike in captivity, as he looked back at his friends peddling and panting up the hill.

Eli turned to encourage them; “What’s wrong…..You got flat tires?”

They all soon found that they needed a break, and water. He was amazed; Silver hadn’t even broken a sweat, and treated him to a pat on his front fork. Then, off again with the two stragglers in tow.

They had planned for about an hour’s ride, but they hadn’t even reached the trail sign yet. Eli shifted down and Silver sprinted forward. Soon the sign was spotted. The “secret” was out; it read “Logan’s Quarry” .

For those who don’t know what a quarry is: it is a big hole in the ground where people took out tons of rock to build walls and things. Then during rainy times, it fills up with cold water. If you are not scared, you jump in naked and paddle around in it for hours.

The boys arrived at the edge where they parked their bikes, and stowed their gear in the bushes. Eli locked Silver to a convenient tree.

Whoa! there was one big problem; Two girls had arrived there first and were ready to jump in. There was no way this was going to happen in their quarry, the boy’s agreed.

Eli quickly surveyed the situation, and said to the tall girl in the purple bikini: “Too bad about the snakes that always crawl out of these rocks”. Hank picked up on it with; “Yeah, there’s one now”,  pointing behind the girls. They didn’t even bother to look, they were screaming down the hill, not even bothering to take a full basket of lunch goodies left behind.

The three of them stripped down to their shorts…then thought better of it, and quickly dropped them being convinced that the girls were miles away…..  Eli smiled and joked,  “Besides, phony snakes don’t bite really naked boys”.

As they filed over to the edge of the cliff, they became fully aware of the drop to the water……It was huge!

Bobby stepped back and said; “You guys go first.!” Hank replied; “No way, You first Eli, it’s your birthday.”

Eli sized things up, only to discover a heavy rope hanging from a tree above the edge, and Ninja that he is, he instantly grabbed it, let out a whoop!! and swung  way  out beyond the overhang and plunged deep into the ice cold water.

“Come on in” he called reassuringly, “It’s totally warm!” … Eli laughing his head off as they both plunged in only to turn blue from the freezer-like temperature.

This went on… in and out, in and out ….clear into lunchtime, when the girls basket came in really handy; except for tuna fish and crackers that had started to small funny. “Maybe that’s the way they were born” Hank said, with is mouth full, as they wolfed them down. This unexpected birthday gift gave them a few extra hours of fun and amazingly bad breath.

Then it happened; the wake up call: Bobby was showing off  his by now famous upside down- one handed swing, and he caught his leg in the rope and was flung back into the rocks.


Eli heard  him yell as he smashed against them. His head was bleeding heavily.  He called down; “Bobby, I’m coming ……hold on!”

Hank, the only one who had brought his phone as his mother had insisted, dialed 911 and told them what happened.

By then Eli had arrived on the ledge where Bobby lay, crying in pain. He spoke; “Don’t worry we’ll get you out”, not having any idea just how . He had brought the tablecloth  the girls had placed near the food basket, and had begun to tear it into strips to bandage and stop the bleeding. He remembered that well from his scout training.

Within minutes, he was surprised by the whoosh-whoosh of helicopter blades above him and the speaker that called; ” Are you both O.K down there?”

Eli rose to his feet as a man began to lower himself down to the ledge. He answered; “Yeh, but there is no more room here… I’m jumping back into the water. Just get Bobby.”

Well, they got the job done, and minutes later they returned and a ladder dropped to the water beside him. A big hand reached down and the greeting came; “Good job son” he smiled and followed with ” “Where’s your suit?”

Eli just lost it, yelling out……even over the sounds of the copter. ” What a best ever Birthday; Bobby’s O.K. I’m naked on a ladder, high in the sky, under a helicopter! Who’da thought? ”  then singing “Haaapy Birthday Dear Eli…

….”Oh, and Silver keep YOUR pants on” …

“I’ll be back, Lord willin'” ………and He always is .