1268580_10201989747978213_1302152653_oBefore we find out what’s going on with Milly, let me take a moment to wish everyone a very blessed Christmas.  May you each know the joy and peace of the Christ Child.

And now. . .back to Milly.  When we last left her she had just gotten her library card (a very important possession)

“Milly, don’t sit so close to the TV, ” Dad said as he dried his hands.  “Dinner’s almost ready.  How about you guys washing up.”

“What are we having tonight?  Beef ravioli instead of cheese?” Daryl burst into laughter.

“Ha, ha! Very funny. And, no, we’re having stir-fry with pork.  Mr. Zimmer suggested it.  He’s a math teacher at the high school.  I figure if he can do it, so can I.”

Milly turned the TV off and headed to the kitchen to wash her hands and set the table.  It was Daryl’s night to wash.  They alternated nights on setting the table and cleaning up.  Dad said he didn’t have to do either of those because he prepared dinner every night.  Daryl said that was a poor excuse.

“At least we didn’t have to turn the smoke alarm off this time,” Daryl quipped.

“Shut up, Daryl.  It smells good, Dad.” Milly placed a potholder on the table before putting the frying pan down.  “Colorful too.”

After they finished eating what Daryl finally admitted was a tolerable meal, they got ready to watch The Wizard of Oz. They would have popcorn and Milly would get to stay up late to watch the whole movie.  It was her favorite.  She loved the Cowardly Lion and the way he was really just a kind-hearted kitten.  But she admired Dorothy the most because even though the most important thing to her is to get home she takes the time and has enough concern to help everyone else.  When se was very young, maybe around six, the Wicked Witch scared her terribly.  Especially when the tornado had just picked up Dorothy’s house and the old lady was bicycling by and she turned into the Wicked Witch.  Milly used to get so frightened that she would go crawl in bed with Daryl.  Of course, he would never admit that he’d ever let her.  But the truth was it sometimes scared him too.

“Milly, why are you squinting?” Dad asked when the movie was starting.

“I’m trying to read the part about forty years of dedication.”

“You can’t see it from here?”

“No.”

“Move up until it’s clear for you.”

Milly scooted closer to the TV.  Finally she stopped.  “I can see just fine now.  Nothing at all is blurry.”

“Hmm.  I’ll call Ms. Gordon tomorrow for a good eye doctor.  We need to have you both checked out before school starts anyway.”

“Aw, Dad, I can see just fine.  It’s just snot nose who needs glasses,” Daryl whined as he put the bowl of popcorn on the coffee table.

“Don’t call me that,” Milly stuck her tongue out at him as she got a handful of popcorn.

“Fine.  I’ll just call you Four Eyes since you’ll need to get used to it.” He threw a white puff at her.

She retaliated with her whole handful of the snack before Dad put a stop to it.

“Kids, stop or you’ll both go to bed right now.”  Milly and Daryl stuck their tongues out one last time before sprawling comfortably across the floor.

On Monday Milly sat nervously in the examining chair waiting for Dr. Black.  The owl like machines stared at her unblinkingly while Dad flipped through a magazine.  The idea of getting glasses was a little frightening.  What if everyone did actually start calling her four eyes? It was bad enough she had to go to a new school.

Dr. Black bounced into the room with a cheerful good morning. “Dean Ashton?” he extended his hand.  “Good to meet you.  My daughter, Karen, is at the high school.” He turned, “And you must be Milly.” He winked at her.

Milly just stared at him.  Dr. Black barely paused for a breath before sitting down on his stool and swinging the owl in front of her face.

“Let’s see what we’ve got here.”  He clicked some knobs and asked her to read letters.

“Um. . .p, o, t, maybe e or c?” Milly guessed.  The letters were really blurry.

“Ok, great.” Dr. Black clicked some more knobs.  “Better or worse?”

“Wow! Much better!” She could tell now that the o was a c and e was an o.

After a series of better or worse questions, Dr. Black leaned back and smiled at Milly.  “Not too painful, is it?” Before she could answer he kept talking.  “I’m going to put some drops in your eyes now that will make your pupils big so I can look at the back of your eyeball.  Pretty cool, huh?”

After the drops, which made Milly’s eyes almost black and bright lights hurt, Dr. Black turned to Dad.

“Milly is a bit near sighted and has a slight astigmatism.  She’s going to need to start wearing glasses.”

“Thanks, Dr. Black.  I’m glad you could fit us in on short notice before school started.  How long will it take for Milly’s new glasses to get here?  Will she have them by Thursday for school?”

Milly cringed at the thought of having to start school with the glasses. She could just hear the other kids.  Daryl would start picking on her at home, too.  People wouldn’t even know her name because they would always call her the New Four-Eyed Geek.

“Should take just a couple of days.  It’s a pretty straight forward prescription.” Dr. Black patted her leg.  “Not like you need bifocals, old girl,” he said with a chuckle.  “You can go next door to pick out frames.” Dr. Black walked with them.

They met Daryl in the waiting room. “So, no glasses for you, huh, Slugger?”

“I told you so,” Daryl mumbled as he shuffled behind them. “How long is this going to take?  I have a game at the park.”

“Not long.”

“Oh, Karen,” Dr. Black said.  “I didn’t know you were here.  Mr. Ashton, this is my daughter, Karen.  She’ll be a senior this year. Also the leading scorer for the Lady Cubs.”

“Aw, Dad,” a tall girl with a strawberry blond ponytail said.  Milly recognized her immediately.

“You’re the girl from the corner store.”

“Yeah, I remember you.  And your baseball legend brother.” She winked at Milly and punched Daryl’s arm playfully.  “I just came to see if I need to do anything before work.  Oh, and I’m going out with Wayne when I get off. OK?”

“No, there’s nothing.  And that’s fine. Is Peggy with your mother?”

“Yeah. Thanks, Dad.” Karen turned to Milly.  “See you at the store.  Nice to meet you, Mr. Ashton.  See you Thursday at school.” She wrinkled her nose a little before smiling and leaving.

“Here we go, Milly. See if you can find some frames you like.”

Milly looked at dozens of frames and finally chose some purple ones. Dad told her she’d made a good choice.  Daryl just whined about missing his game.  The receptionist was telling Dad he could pick Milly’s glasses up on Wednesday after 4:00 p.m. when Dr. Black walked back through.

“I won’t be able to do that.  We have Open House from 3:00-6:00 that night.  IN fact, you guys are going to have to go with me.  It’ll have to wait until Friday when I can get away from school a bit early.”

“Aw, Dad.  I don’t want to go to Open House,” complained Daryl.

Milly just wondered what would be worse.  Going to school with glasses on the first day or showing up a few days later with yet something else that made her different.

Dr. Black came around the corner with a piece of paper.  “Why don’t you call Karen?  She’s not working on Wednesday.  She has a car and I’m sure she’d be helpful.  Peggy, her little sister, is around Milly’s age.  In fact, they may even be in the same class.”

Dad took the paper.  “Thanks, this will help out a lot.”

“Dad, let’s go.  The game,” Daryl impatiently called.

He was already drumming on the dashboard by the time Dad and Milly got to the car.

That night Milly wrote in her journal:

I had to get glasses today.  Well, I don’t actually get them until Wednesday.  They’re purple, of course.  Now I’ll not only be the new girl, but I’ll be different.  I wish Mom were here.  She would know I’m scared without me having to say anything.  I don’t think Dad even notices.