My brother Lee attended a preschool called Kiddie Koop when we lived in Montgomery, Alabama, near Woodley Road and the Southern Bypass.
Lee, usually a good-natured child, always came home from school and complained about a boy his age named Chris. Chris was infamous for biting other children, and once, the teacher.
My mother taught us the difference between doing something bad and being a bad person. She explained, "Lee slurping his Chef Boyardee spaghetti is bad, but that doesn't make him a bad person."
Lee continued to complain about his classmate biting him. Chris' teeth marks were Exhibit A.
One autumn day, my mom enforced a new policy in the Benjamin home. Whenever Lee or I behaved poorly, we were called, "Chris of the Day."
When I did a cartwheel in the living room and broke Mom's vase, I was the "Chris of the Day."
One afternoon, my neighbor, Libby Welsh, and I made fun of a boy named Craig, who lived across the street. Craig's dad called my dad. After Dad lectured Libby and me, he took me inside our ranch home and gave me one heck of an Alabama whoopin’!
And yes, the next day I was "The Chris of the Day."
Later, after we moved to Charlotte, 14-year-old Lee took the car out with his friends while my parents were out of town. My mom found out when one of her friends remarked, "I didn't realize that Lee was old enough to drive." Lee "clutched" when my parents confronted him. Lee was now "The Chris of the Day."
Thank goodness Lee and I grew up to be responsible adults. (At least, Lee did!)
Today, my mother still remembers the several years that she dubbed my brother and I, "Chris of the Day."
Now 2020, when my nosy neighbor acts up, I sometimes facetiously report it to Mom. Her reply? "Oh, he is just being ‘The Chris of the Day.’"
Lee grew up to become a pediatrician. Poor Lee! I heard that one of his patients bit him recently.
Robyn Lynne Benjamin is a freelance writer and photographer. She has enjoyed working with children and college students.
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