Jeff had been a boxer, a prize-fighter, what Grandpa Leslie called a “pugilist.”  Decades after his final bell, Jeff’s appearance bore witness to long-ago and subsequent physical and emotional bouts. 

Jeff’s dad was his trainer.  With a wry smile, the erstwhile combatant would recount, at the end of a round, crumpling in his corner with Dad leaning in, forefinger under Jeff’s nose, reminding his young contestant, “Remember lad!  You don’t have to block every punch with your face!”

We are all pugilists.  Having our “bell” rung too many times, we might recall the old trainer’s advice.  We  can cover up, block, weave, sidestep, counterpunch.  We don’t have to block every punch with our face!