Mike's Perpetual Bruise
(E. D. Coons--AKA Grandpa)

Mike was a little slow starting to walk.  It wasn't that he didn't know how, he just figured he could crawl faster.  He really zipped along. (Grandma Hazel's note: Mike learned to walk while we were living in Sand Bernadino, CA. before we left for Morocco.  He wasn't walking by the time he was a year old--although we suspected he could.  One saturday we left him and Dale with Grampa and Grandpa Armstrong.  Mike wasn't walking when we left but he was when we got back.  Seems as how Grampa took hold of the straps on his courduroy coveralls and wouldn't let him sit down.  They just kept walking all morning.  I guess Mike preferred to be carried rather than walk on his own two feet!)  When he did decide to start walking, he was really funny to watch.  His legs always seemed to be going about half again as fast as the rest of him.  We were living in Morocco at the time in a new house that had no soft surfaces.  There were cement floors, cement walls and very few rugs.  It seemed Dale and Mike were always chasing each other in their play and with Mike's rolling gait he was always hitting his forehead on some wall, doorway or floor.  [Editor's note:  I think this is a result of a genetic defect--Dad made us a 'play area' in Massachussets out of those green steel posts and some chicken wire.  Mike would go barreling out of the back door of the house and always seemed to find the door-post on the play area with his head.  I'm sure the emergency room people were starting to get suspicious--I think we made at least two trips to have his noggin repaired within a week or so!  This is a really vague recollection, but I think the play area came down shortly after that.]

He had perpetual bruises in the middle of his forhead for about a year until he got a bit more steady on his feet.  We'd probably be accused of child abuse nowadays, but it didn't seem to bother him much.  He'd pick himself up, get it kissed better and be off again, rolling along like a drunken sailor.

Lillies of the Field
E.D. Coons (AKA Grandpa)

[Ed's note: In another great injustice, I could not believe Mike actually got away with this--I was sure such a silly attempt would be quickly found out and was looking forward to the quick and certain punishment that was likely to occur when found out.  Note that at the time, I felt no guilt since Mike was the one who actually stomped the flowers.  I think Mom even knew]

One day when I went out to the carriage house, I noticed the lillies I had planted with great care seemed to be wilting.  So I got the hose and watered them.  A day or so later they were completely wilted in spite of the water.  I discovered that the stems were completely severed and looked around carefully for the cutworms I was certain were responsible.  I went into the house muttering about cutworms and even made little aluminum foil collars for the remaining stalks.

Years later I found out in one of the reminiscing sessions that Mike and Dale had a free ranging water fight with the hoses and the stalks had been smapped off.  Seeing me approach Mike had grabed some pieces of metal for stakes to support the stems and stuck the stalks back in the ground, mounding up the dirt so they would stand up and wouldn't be noticed.

Listen to the Still Small Voice
E.D. Coons (AKA Grandpa)

One night Mike came in and announced that he was going to ride his bike downtown.  He often rode places and this was not an unusual thing.  What was unusual was the immediate and intense feeling of foreboding that came over me.  I could see Mike on his bike in the park and and impending darkness.  I told him I didn't want him to go.  Of course, he wanted to know why.  As I explainied, I was afraid he might think it a bit flimsy or silly.  Ive always been thankful he had enough faith in his Father to stay in that night.