Once Upon A “Sick Kid”

I’m writing this in the midst of COVID when a child needs little reason to stay home. In the olden day’s parents had to call or send the teachers excuse notices. Here are some of my favorites. I’m not making them up:

Dear Teacher, my son is under doctor’s care. Please execute him.

Chris will not be in school because he has an acre in his side.

John has been absent because he had two teeth taken off his face.

Please excuse Joyce from P.E. for a few days. Yesterday she fell off a tree and misplaced her hip.

Ralph was absent yesterday because he had a sore trout.

Please excuse Sara for being absent. She was sick and I had her shot.

When I was a kid, nothing cheered me up faster than hearing my mother say, “Son, you are sick. You had better stay right there in bed. Don’t move. No school for you.” I loved being sick. I never felt better than when I was under the weather. Mom was the world’s greatest comforter. She drove like a stock car racer down to the grocery store to load up on Old South orange juice, ginger ale, and Vicks VapoRub. She brought them to me on a silver tray. Then put on scratchy old records and propped me up to listen to adventure stories. No king ever had it better.

Sadly, good things end, and when my temperature dropped, I took the thermometer to the washroom, ran warm water over it, and squeezed out one extra day of opulence. This only worked once.

Mom is gone now, but each time I drink orange juice, I remember her. I remember her compassion and comfort. I think her love made it a little easier for me to believe in God’s love. The God of all comfort, the Bible calls him. He promises to be with us. To never take us anywhere where he has already been. He is the Good Shepherd, guiding and comforting his sheep in the stillness and the storms, in the bright sunshine and in the dark valley. “Blessed are those who mourn,” said Jesus, “for they shall be comforted.” May that comfort be yours today.

Oh, and if your child runs hot water on the thermometer, do what my mother did. Run into his room yelling, “Your temperature is 120. You should be dead. Quick! Get dressed. We’re going to the hospital.” And on the way there, she dropped me off at school.

Phil Callaway

Phil Callaway, the host of Laugh Again, is an award-winning author and speaker, known worldwide for his humorous yet perceptive look at life.

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