1. to become rigid or inflexible in habits, attitudes, opinions, etc.
  2. to convert into or cause to harden like bone.
  3. to become bone or harden like bone.


For someone who was 12, Alexander would’ve been considered a strange child, having more in common with his grandfather than his classmates.

His parents would observe his times of quiet play–book reading–and ponder how he would be as a teenager, given he already seemed to have the temperament of an 85-year-old man.

“He may grow out of it,” his father would say.

“Well, he spends so much time with your father that I doubt that,”his mother would respond.

It was true.  Alexander spent every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoon at his grandfather’s house in the country, absorbing the elder statesman’s ways and mentality.

Although he never said it, Alexander’s grandfather was in fact his favorite person alive. His house, his books, his way of talking, his wrinkles, the way he dressed and viewed the world, fascinated Alexander. He wanted to be just like his grandfather, but not later in life when he was in his eighties, but now.

His parents weren’t sure when Alexander began to ossify into an old man in a young boy’s body, but their son was clearly unusual–polite and respectful, but unusual. When their son stopped responding to “Al” and responded with looks of disdain at the use of “Alex,” they figured it was time for a chat.

“Son, you don’t seem to be having fun with any friends your age,” his father said. “Your mother and I were thinking that it would be good for you to go to camp this summer, get out of this place and actually have some adventure.”

“Camp… adventure…”

Alexander seemed to ponder this momentarily.

“Away from grandfather,” he asked quietly.

“Well…” His father didn’t have the heart to confirm his son’s suspicions.

Alexander’s face crumpled like a smashed aluminum can as he dissolved into tears.

His parents looked at each other speechless, realizing they were going to need another, less-traumatizing plan.




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