From the It’s Always Something file, our cousin Amy drove up late this afternoon with a bloodied and battered and weeping eight-year-old boy she found on the side of the road downtown. It was our Lucas, and he had just had a terrible bike crash. He was riding down the sidewalk with a friend and didn’t see a section of the sidewalk that had been raised by a tree root growing underneath. He went flying over the handlebars, apparently, and handed face down. Julie rushed him over to the Daniel Clinic, where Dr. Chaillie Daniel stayed late to examine him. Dr. Daniel feared a broken collarbone and a broken thumb, but X-rays showed no fractures. He was pretty badly bunged up, though, with swollen hands, a stiff back, and a big scrape on the side of his neck (see above). Thank God he was wearing a bike helmet, or things might have gone very, very different for the boy this evening. His helmet was cracked and is now ruined.
This, by the way, is the second time a helmet has saved one of our children from very serious head trauma. A couple of years ago, when we lived in Philly, Matthew crashed headlong into a tall iron fence at the bottom of a hill in front of our apartment; his unauthorized experiment with the brakes on his Razor scooter was a dismal failure. He was black and blue, and an eye was swollen shut, but his helmet, left broken and useless by the crash, saved him from what almost certainly would have been a fractured skull. When I was a kid, nobody wore bike helmets, but now having both my boys spared serious head injury because they were wearing helmets, I wouldn’t dream of letting my kids ride without head protection.
Lucas is still pretty shaken up by everything, in pain, and trying to be a brave little man and not cry. Julie was just tucking him into bed, and he told her, “I’m so glad we live in St. Francisville. When I crashed, so many people came to help me, and they all knew who I was.”
That right there is one of the main themes of The Little Way of Ruthie Leming. May you too live in a place that, should you crash, everybody will run to help and comfort you because they all know who you are.
UPDATE: Because someone here is bound to say, “Oh, so, you don’t think people in a big city would help a little boy who crashed his bike and was hurt?”, let me say that of course I do. The point is that in his moment of crisis, the people who surrounded him were people who weren’t strangers, and who would have known how to get to his parents, if his cousin hadn’t been driving by. We live in a place where more than one of our cousins are likely to be driving by. That is cool.