Spring 1963 • Vol. XXV No. 2 NonfictionApril 1, 1963 |

A Piece of Lettuce

George P. Elliott A PIECE OF LETTUCE THE DAY I TURNED THREE I LEANED HOW IMPORTANT IT WAS that I had been born on my mother's birthday. Mother made the fact an occasion for delight, and of course I enjoyed it too. But I was already my father's son and felt this coincidence to be heavy with a significance it nevertheless obscured; somehow I had been destined to be uniquely close to Mother. We spent that day on a train on the way to Oregon, and, though I was old enough to expect a big birthday cake and a party, I did not feel cheated at having no more than a piece of dining-car cake with one candle on it and a book of paper doll cutouts for my only present. Mother made these seem special just because she and I were wonderfully sharing birthdays on a train. I cannot recaUl my father's being with us, though in fact he was. A few months later, in a stormy twilight, I went with my father to feed the chickens. A gust blew my black umbrella inside out and pulled me over. He picked me up, as

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