Beanery Online Literary Magazine

November 26, 2007


—written by Ed KelemenEd K. is the father of the two Kelemen poetry writers, Stephen and Brendan, previously posted in the Beanery Online Literary Magazine. Tonight’s writing is his first submission to the BEANERY ONLINE LITERARY MAGAZINE  Enjoy!
I kissed my wife good-bye at the airport and assured her that everything would be fine while she and a couple of her school chums spent the weekend enjoying some Broadway Shows.
“Look honey: I know that you and the boys will be bache-ing it; just don’t completely destroy the house while I’m gone.”
“How can you even think that we might make a mess?”
“Because I know you guys.”
End of conversation.
I hurried home, fully expecting a weekend of just us guys doing some man things and enjoying one another’s company.
The boys, nine and eleven years old, came home from school that Friday afternoon as usual, bickering and fighting, jockeying for position in the pack. It took a few minutes, then each boy settled into whatever position of authority, or lack thereof, that had been determined by the day’s competition. Life was good.
“How was school today?”
This was met with grunts, groans and a barely audible, “OK”.
“What did you guys do in school today?” This was easily answered, “Nothing”.
So far—so good. Everything was normal.
When the macaroni and cheese with baked fish rectangles was consumed without complaint; I started to worry. Five minutes. Ten minutes. Fifteen minutes. When a full thirty minutes passed without either boy saying he was hungry; my worry went up a notch.
Entering the living room I found twelve-year-old Erik sprawled sideways and somewhat upside-down in an armchair watching Scooby-Doo. Everything OK in that corner. No sign of eleven-year-old Sean. Bad sign.
A quick search found him in the boys’ room, a sacrosanct toxic waste dump of dishevelment, disorganization and aimless clutter. He was in his bed, under the covers and quiet; three unusual conditions for a super-active boy. (The all-explaining catchword hyperactivity hadn’t entered the lexicon of suburbia yet.)
“How’s it going little buddy?”
“I don’t feel good, Dad.” This was immediately followed-up with a graphic example of projectile vomitus representing the evening’s meal.
“Yeah, I agree,” His forehead wasn’t quite ready to fry eggs. After changing the bed linen, changing his clothes and clearing a path through the detritus to the door, I got a thermometer.
“I got a fever, don’t I Dad?”
“Sure do.” The thermometer showed ninety-nine plus degrees. I recalled that aspirin was for a fever, but it was bad for an upset stomach. What to do? I called an expert.
“Mom, Sean has a headache, a fever and he’s throwing-up.” More a plea than a statement.
She told me to give him some flat cola to settle his stomach, clear liquids to avoid dehydration, and acetaminophen for the fever and headache. Keep him quiet and in bed and keep an eye on the fever in case it spikes.
OK. I enlisted the aid of his older brother Erik who volunteered to read him stories and sit with him awhile. Pretty mature for a twelve-year-old, I thought. I flattened the contents of a two-liter bottle of cola in the blender. Can you imagine how much foam two liters of cola can produce? I took a tall glass of flat room temperature cola, another glass of cola neither room temperature nor flat, and some snacks up to the boys’ room.
When I got there, Erik was earnestly reading a story from a hardback book to Sean, who complaisantly reclined under his covers. I gave Sean the warm flat cola and told him to sip it, it should settle his stomach. I also gave him a children’s acetaminophen for his temperature and headache and made ready to slip out. On the way, I asked Erik what story he was reading to Sean.
“Bram Stoker’s Dracula.”
Oh, Well.
10:00 p. m. Sean is restless and having a hard time sleeping. So far the flat cola seems to be working. His temperature is now up to one hundred, point four. I’ve been wringing wash cloths out in cold water and wiping his forehead, neck and back to see if it will help cool him down.
10:15 p. m. The cola now seems to be not working as the little guy just threw it up. Changed the bedclothes again. Changed the boy’s clothing again after giving him a tepid bath.
11:00 p. m. He seems to be holding the cola down. A cool washcloth on his brow seems to be helping him rest.
11:15 p. m. The phone. Wifey had arrived safely at JFK Airport, met her friends and settled in at the Sheraton. She said that she had had a wonderful meal, caught-up on years of news and was now ready to call it a night.
“How’s everything at home?”
“Just great, Sweetie. The kids are in bed and I’m going to follow along after I finish-up in the kitchen.”
We exchanged love-yous and hung-up.
Midnight. 1:00 a. m. 2:00 a. m. 5:00 a. m. It’s been a long night. The poor little guy has tossed and turned, up-chucked and been feverish all night. In between reading Grimm’s Fairy Tales, (parts of which make Dracula seem tame), and praying that my son doesn’t have to endure this any longer than necessary; I get some fitful sleep.
I sneak down to the kitchen and make a pot of coffee. Two hot cups really hit the spot this chilly Saturday Morning.
At 7:30 a. m. Erik is up with his growing boy appetite. An interminable number of pancakes and sausages later find me finishing the kitchen clean up and sipping another cup of coffee.
8:45 a. m. “Dad. Dad. Daaaaad! Sean’s awake and wants you.”
Another change of linen and clothing. Time to do a couple loads of wash. Another dose of acetaminophen. More flat cola this time accompanied with a couple pieces of dry toast.
“Hey little buddy, I’ve got a lot to do today and I can’t keep running up and down the steps to check on you. So I’ve an idea. Here’s a little bell I found in the kitchen. Whenever you need me, just give it a ring. Of course, I’ll still be checking in on you every so often. OK?”
Ding. Ding-ding-ding-ding.
Out of breath, but beside his bed, “What’s the matter Sean?”
“I just wanted to see if the bell worked.”
Ding. Ding-ding-ding-ding. “My pillow is flat.”
Ding. Ding-a-ding, ding, ding. “I don’t feel good.”
Ding. Ding, ding, ding, “Can you change the TV Channel for me?”
This lasted for three long hours; at which time the little bell was repatriated to the kitchen. Finally, a ray of sunshine. This time, the cola and dry toast stayed down. But his fever didn’t abate. The acetaminophen would drop the temperature for a while, and then it would go back up. By 4 p. m. his temperature was spiking at one-oh-two point three.
Lots of cool clear liquids and tepid baths got us through the next few hours.
By 9:00 p. m. his temperature was coming down, and he was enjoying the deep, restful sleep that had eluded him all weekend. Even so, I made ready to spend the night in the room with him, just in case.
The little woman called again around midnight and waxed enthusiastic about the Broadway production of Beauty and the Beast. She asked about the kids and I reassured her once more.
9:00 a. m. Sunday morning. I was ready to drop. Even my second cup of coffee didn’t allow my eyes to focus on the newsprint of the Sunday paper.
Eight-thirty. I could hear the older boy rustling about and making ready to greet the day. I sipped at my coffee trying to clear the cobwebs from my brain.
Erik came running downstairs yelling, “Dad. Dad. Dad. Daaadd!”
I nearly spilled my coffee. “What’s the matter?”
“Sean just called me a poopy-head!”
Thank You, God.Visit Volume 1 of the BEANERY ONLINE LITERARY MAGAZINE and read its latest posts. Click on   Also visit and the newsletter for Laurel Mountain Boro in PA. at

Leave a Comment »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: