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As I look at you, I see your hair is nicely combed. I remember the hours and gallons of water we used, trying to train your hair. It always seemed to have a mind of its own. I can see that scar on your lip; hardly shows now, too. We were worried about that. You were such a brave little man when I took you to Dr. Nordquist to get those three stitches in it. I was the one who almost fainted when they started sticking you with that needle. The nurse even made me leave the room.
On the way home, I told you that you could have any treat you wanted, for being so brave. You wanted a cup of coffee, "Like big men drink," you said. My five-year-old little brave man, drinking coffee in the Rainbow Restaurant, just like big men. It was our secret; lucky Mom never found out, huh?
You have grown tall and nice looking. Grandpa always said you were going to be a big man. Guess what I'm proudest of in you? It's your kindness to all things. When we found out that your little dog, Porkchop, was epileptic, you were so happy that you cried. You had seen Porkchop have fits many times, and we were sure he would die. For three years after that, you faithfully gave Porkchop his pill every day.
I remember the day you helped me fix my pickup. We sure got greasy -- Mom wouldn't even let us in the house for lunch, but we fooled her. We went to the store and got a pizza, then lipped off to Mom and your two brothers, while eating it, still dirty. Yes, that was fun. We laughed a lot that day. I found out later that you did save a piece of pizza for your little brother; it was our secret too.
I've always been proud of you for so many reasons, Kent. Your silent kindness and strength, your loyalty, your soft heart, and secrets you shared with me. I remember how you used to lay across my lap with your shirt pulled up, exposing your bare back. I would trace my fingers lightly over your skin; it seemed to almost hypnotize you. I had done it many times when you were a baby, to get you to sleep when you weren't feeling good. Guess you just never grew out of liking it. I liked it too.
I remember the day I came to tell you that I was going away for a long time -- going to prison. You stood silently, listening with your head bowed and tears in your eyes, asking why. You hugged me and ran up into the woods, to your secret fort, crying. I cried too that day, Kent. I was ashamed of myself, and of breaking your heart.
You did write me and sent the colored pictures you drew in school. I had them on my cell wall for years, and yes, I bragged about them to my friends. I have lain awake many nights wondering who was teaching you to drive, who was your first girlfriend, and how I would tease you about her, as if I were right there with you. I'm sorry for missing so much of you, Kent.
Ken "Duke" Monse'Broten
Reprinted by permission of Ken "Duke" Monse'Broten _1996. All rights reserved. Reprinted from Chicken
Soup for the Prisoner's Soul by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Tom Lagana. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval
system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission
of the publisher. Publisher: Health Communications, Inc., 3201 SW 15th Street,
Deerfield Beach, FL 33442.