is sick, so we won't be going out today,
but we'll go out next weekend for
I carry the pail and bag to Ferdeleh, who is
ered with a blanket. I pet his nose, watching his nos-
drips of liquid and mucus. Breath
bet you Grandpa got sick because they're all so
mean and they tell such lies.
We'll get a fine stable for
you, don't worry." I adjust the blanket.
Grandpa you need more oats tomorrow."
take in a lungful, a noseful of the beautiful full
odor of my horse.
smell real good. Don't pay any attention to
what they say. You smell real
Benny is waiting in the kitchen. His coat
is open. Annie is distraught, holding
back her tears.
Harry is somber, not worried like the others, but aware
of the seriousness of the moment
The doctor comes out of
Grandpa's room. "Its
pneumonia. Wear a mask when you go into the
enter the kitchen to hear Annie saying, "I'm send-
ing the boy to my
darling. Grandpa is very sick. It's better if
you go to Uncle Benny's ...
for a week or so, until
Grandpa gets better."
puzzled and distressed by all the aspects of this
news. With an imploring
look, I ask Mamma, "Why
do I have to go?"
very authoritative, answers for Annie. With
an order. "Because the doctor
doesn't want you to go
into Grandpa's room."
doctor, mildly, taking the part of the rational,
explains. "It's better
if you go to your uncle's, Davie.
Your mother has to take care of your grandfather
and she has enough on her hands with the new baby."
I still don't really understand. "I want to talk
Harry, completely lacking emotion, repeats an or-
I pay no attention to him, but look to Annie
the doctor. "But I have to talk to him."
am worried about Grandpa. Everything's tum-
bling in confusion. But also I
must see him about
Ferdeleh. Ferdeleh's oats.
Harry just harps. "The
doctor says you can't."
"Perhaps," says the
doctor, "if he stands in the
I move toward Grandpa's door, as the
doctor continues: "Don't get too
close to him. You
might catch it."
care. If he has it, I can have it too."
stand in the doorway." He turns to Annie.
"I'll drop in again tomorrow."
Annie hastens over to oversee my meeting. Re-
straining me at the doorway, she eases open the door
to Grandpa's room, and
says to me softly, "Grand-
pa's very sick, so don't be surprised by the
Grandpa lies in bed, his head propped
on a pillow,
looking pale, thin, and tired.
Does it hurt?"
Grandpa looks at me gently, and speaks,
silence of the moment, but inaudibly.
you talk louder. Grandpa? I can't hear you,
and they won't let me go into
"That's right," he mumbles. "Don't
come too close,
I take a step closer, in
the stillness. "I told Fer-
deleh you were sick, and he understood. He
too disappointed, because I told him we'd be going
won't we, Grandpa?"
He smiles and nods. "Yes .
. . yes." Softly. He
more oats. You'll have to buy him
nudges me on the shoulder. "Don't talk to
any more. He's too weak to talk, darling; he
must sleep now."
I go to Uncle Benny's, who will feed Ferdeleh?"
feed him. Go with Uncle Benny now."
I turn and look
searchingly at her. "You prom-
promise. I'll feed him." To Harry she says, "His
underwear and change
of clothing... on his bed."
Harry leaves the kitchen.
I beg Mamma, "I want to come back Saturday, be-
we have to go on Sunday. Will you bring me
back on Saturday?"
"Good-bye Grandpa. I'm coming back on Satur-
day. Don't worry about Ferdeleh. Mamma promised
to feed him.'" And to
Mamma, "And water, too."
"And water, too,"
Harry has returned to the kitchen with a small
with my clothes. Benny takes my hand and starts to
lead me toward
"He needs a rubdown, at least twice a week."
"Come," says Benny.
"Davie... ?" Grandpa calls faintly.
I answer, "Yes, Grandpa?" Benny stops. I hurry
back to his door.
Annie stops me at the doorway, holding
going too close.
Grandpa is very faint. "Davie..."
I wait They all wait
himself. "It was a good idea to
put the manure on Mrs. Tannenbaum's stairs."
I beam. This I fully understand.