From The Sled Run and Jack the Indestructible
…A winter or two later along comes Jack. He was no more than 2½ or 3 years old and lived in the house directly behind us. His parents would bundle him up in his thick, puffy, light blue snow suit and send him out to play and naturally, he’d want to go down the sled run, too. We being big kids, we’d put him on our sleds and ride him down, which thoroughly delighted the tyke. If I were going down on my stomach, I’d have Jack lie down on my back and hold on, which he could do, but I would be sure to control my speed so he wouldn’t fall off (and no, I wasn’t mean and zoom up the moguls and get airborne, which would send Jack flying off me!).
One day, the little guy almost gave me a heart attack! Just he and I were at the top of the run, Jack a few feet away, in the corner of my eye. The snow had worn thin, exposing the incline’s minefield of iced, slippery rocks. I was arranging my sled, getting the pull-rope out of the way and just about ready to take the two of us down when Jack piped up saying, “I want to go.”
“Okay, Jack, gimme a sec…” I said as I did a final adjustment.
The very next second, however…
From The Slide
…One day, my brother and I went to the park and we brought along our five-year-old sister Melissa. We had the park all to ourselves, no one else around. Melissa went off to the nearby short slide and spring horses while my brother and I went to The Slide. It wasn’t too hot and this time Micah and I had an idea: the two of us would go down in tandem. To do so, we’d make a chain. The back person would sit close and put his legs into the lap of the front person, just like when riding a toboggan. Then, with a “1-2-3,” and grabbing the lip on each side of the slide, we’d push off and go down together.
So, we’re at the top. This would be daring and both of us were sure this tandem chain ride had never before been attempted in the annals of going down high slides. I was in front a few feet, and Micah took his position behind. He placed his legs around me and into my lap.
“You ready?” I asked.
“All set,” said my brother, “1-2-3-Go!” and we pushed off.
We’d only gone down a foot or two when it happened….
From Adventures in Food—The Locked Refrigerator
…We got all the groceries unpacked and put away, and this day Mom brought home something special: six full-size, individually wrapped, Hershey chocolate bars, one for each of the five kids and her! As a general rule, Mother didn’t eat much candy but every once in a while she would indulge herself. Before we children scattered off, she had an announcement.
“Alright, everyone, you each may have one of the Hershey bars, but I’m claiming this one for myself. There, see? I’m putting my name on it.” She used a marker and in big, bold letters, wrote “Mother” across it. She showed it to us plain as day and added, “This one’s mine. No one’s to eat it.” Aye-aye, Captain, we responded in one way or another and with it being a hot summer day and the house not having air conditioning, she placed the candy bars in the refrigerator. All was well for three days, and I had my candy bar in the meantime.
Then, on the fourth day….
From Church Cough
I was ten. It was Sunday and the whole family was going to services that morning. This was a big deal and the congregation in attendance would be much larger than usual.
I wasn’t feeling well. I had come down with a nasty cold the week before. I’d gotten over it mostly, but hard on its heels came a cough. And what a cough! This wasn’t your basic, garden variety, annoying-but-I-can-deal-with-it cough, the kind when the urge comes on occasionally and you can clear your throat or do a modest little “kaff, kaff.” No, this was one of those that appears only a few times in one’s entire life. With this kind of cough, even the strongest syrup in the world is powerless to make a dent. Yes, I was in the merciless grip of the monstrous BEAST OF THE COUGH WORLD. It had emerged from its hidden lair, hunted me down, and wrapped its massive claw around my throat...
In the fall when I was eleven, I received some unexpected news after visiting the doctor. I was going to need something I’d never had before: surgery. The doctor had to perform a tonsillectomy.
[Later, after surgery]
At one point in the early evening, I got up. By this time I had changed into my pj’s and I wanted to stretch my legs and see where I was. I walked over to the floor’s nurses’ station—and there is where I saw something that made my eyes go saucer. On the counter, accompanied by the voices of an angelic choir and rays of light lancing down from heaven to illuminate it, was an exquisitely crafted three-layer chocolate cake with chocolate frosting! Looking like a picture right out of a fancy food magazine, it was simply a beautiful sight! Next to it was a tub of vanilla ice cream. Like the ancient Greek Sirens tempting Odysseus, from out of the ether I heard this consummate confection calling, “Have some of me, have some of me, Daniel….” My throat was on fire but could I pass up this luscious looking cake and ice cream? No! My mind overruled all objections from my throat. I couldn’t resist—the Cake-Sirens had lured me in!