Forgot your password?

We just sent you an email, containing instructions for how to reset your password.

Sign in

  • To know him was to see his smile
    feel his warmth, his thick
    soft hands, his keen blue eyes
    watching, welcoming,
    as you spoke, as you answered his
    "How are you?" Because,
    He really did want you to answer.
    He was my doctor.
    He was my Dad's doctor.
    Dr. Christ.

    We, together sometimes, would visit him, far away
    in the big city
    we, two,
    bound by one thing,
    one word,
    Such a harsh word then,
    so unknown now.
    My Dad was struck down, as they said;
    survived a war and all its invasions
    only to be felled one hot summer evening.
    He lost his legs, as he'd say,
    and the family focused on him
    to help his recovery, to pray.
    I was too young to know,
    just two, then three.
    It was then they figured out
    that maybe there was a reason
    I rather would crawl than walk.

    My Dad and I would visit him,
    our doctor,
    Dr. Christ.
    I was five or six
    when they straightened me out on that one.
    I thought he really was
    the brother of Jesus,
    the way he'd lay his hands on my legs,
    or stretch my muscles,
    the way he'd prod and wiggle my knees and ankles
    or have me walk
    without the hand rails.
    "Grice, Geoffrey," they said with a laugh. "'G' not 'C.'"

    And so my Dad and I would visit him,
    our doctor,
    in his green-walled office
    with the high leather table
    that would squeak when I
    sat down,
    grip my skin as I moved,
    the room smelling so clean,
    like no smell at all.
    My Dad would wait outside
    then, it'd be his turn.
    Later, we'd drive in the long night's silence,
    and when I awoke, I'd be home,
    and my Mom would help me
    He would write sometimes, Dr. Christ,
    to say hello, to ask whether
    I was doing my exercises.
    He'd prescribed skating,
    lots of skating,
    pushing a green chair across the pond,
    and swimming,
    laps down at the lake,
    back and forth between the float lines.

    When I was 9 the threat
    of a brace was long gone, and,
    one day,
    Dr. Christ came to see us at home,
    My Dad and me,
    our doctor.
    He saw Dad first and then me,
    "How are you?" he asked, and
    ushered me outside,
    his thick, soft hands guiding the way out back
    to the lawn,
    our two-acre lawn that went to the field.
    It was a cold early fall day,
    crisp leaves, gray wind. October.
    "Run to the hedgerow and back," he said.
    "Can you do that? Can you do that without falling?"
    I took off,
    all the way in the tall grass
    almost tripping
    but not
    all the way back
    without falling
    first time
    He raised me up to the sky and,
    as I slipped down in his grasp,
    I felt the stubble of his beard against my cheek,
    and he held me close and said,
    in my ear,
    "Don't ever stop trying, Geoffrey. Don't ever stop trying."

    He stayed for early supper
    and then was off
    he had a drive ahead
    and a plane to catch
    he was going to see his daughter.
    But his plane never made it,
    forty-seven seconds from takeoff,
    it ran into a flock of starlings
    and came down in the bay.
    A murmuration of starlings.
    • Share

    Connected stories:


Collections let you gather your favorite stories into shareable groups.

To collect stories, please become a Citizen.

    Copy and paste this embed code into your web page:

    px wide
    px tall
    Send this story to a friend:
    Would you like to send another?

      To retell stories, please .

        Sprouting stories lets you respond with a story of your own — like telling stories ’round a campfire.

        To sprout stories, please .

            Better browser, please.

            To view Cowbird, please use the latest version of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, or Internet Explorer.