Friday’s Child

Danny Ames was in for a Well Child Visit Friday, and I’ve been thinking about him all weekend. I had not seen him before; he used to see one of my partners, who retired last year. There are plenty of people named Ames in our community, but not all of them are related. 

Danny Ames turned out to be a very resolute young man, just about to enter the eighth grade. He told me he is living with his father in the next town, because that way he has a choice of High Schools. Danny wants to become a professional soccer player, and he wants to go to High School at a nearby private academy that tutors in students from towns without their own High School. 

He has spent the summer learning roofing. He told me with pride in his voice that his father has a roofing business. In the next breath he told me that since age seven he had lived with his mother, because his father went to prison. Now that Danny’s dad is out of prison, the two of them have become close again.

Danny is missing a big chunk of his left ear. He told me matter-of-factly that when he was four years old he happened to be standing behind is uncle, who was using a chain saw. The uncle swung the chainsaw behind him and cut into Danny’s ear. Danny remembered the whole incident vividly – the first two doctors he was taken to wouldn’t stitch him up, so he ended up at the hospital, the anesthesia didn’t take very well, and Danny screamed the whole time. 

Danny was alone in the exam room for his physical. His grandmother was in the waiting room with a younger child. As I went through the usual questions about alcohol, drugs, sex and peer pressure, Danny told me self-assuredly that he had been trusted to take care of himself since he was eight years old with his father in prison and his mother having to work two jobs to support herself and her two boys.

I rattled through the immunizations Danny might want to update, brought the grandmother in for signatures, but basically acknowledged that I was dealing with a very young adult. Danny had clearly not had an easy life up to this point, but he had the character to turn it all into something positive; he was proud of both his parents, he was learning a trade, and he had a dream. I know not many kids from around here become professional soccer players, but if anybody will, Danny Ames just might be the one.

2 Responses to “Friday’s Child”


  1. 1 Cindy Carter August 18, 2008 at 2:28 pm

    It always amazes me what people can do if they really want it. Children from homes like this child can and do “make good” on their dreams. They may have to work harder. And,in some way, that may make them appreciate it more. It was not handed to them.

  2. 2 Jellyhead August 21, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    What a heartening tale … so good to hear happy stories like this.

    Thank you for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment recently. I’ve been a bit of a slacker with writing lately…. will have to pull up my socks!

    All the best to you,
    Jellyhead


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