Saturday, October 27, 2012


I was up in the air, looking down, and my world was tilting back and forth.

I saw my dad, frowning, off to one side, as the rest of the men in the family gathered around, laughing and stacking the metal trash cans inside of each other... while my cousin and I sat in the topmost can.

We hooted and shrieked with screams of delight as we waved around more and more drastically, the creak and scrunk of the cans growing louder as the stack grew taller.

Dad was already a firefighter, and had already begun to worry more about physical damage; but the ringleader of the can stackers was Uncle Dick. Dad's Uncle Dick had been in The War; he'd had two fingers shot off by a "Jap sniper". Uncle Dick was a Maricopa county Superior Court Justice. A man of respect and dignity, and well respected in the community.

And Uncle Dick said there was no harm in boys' rough-housing.

So my cousin and I sat in a trash can, and let the grown-ups lift us higher and higher. After all, what harm was there in it? Ted's a firefighter, isn't he? They'll be safe!

And at some point, the tilting and wavering became the fall. Slowly -- at least in my memory -- we eased to the ground, which seemed to stay distant until the very last second, when it rushed up all at once and slammed the sides of the cans.

We tumbled, laughing, in hysterics from fear and thrill, into a meager stack of leaves. I don't think it hurt... but that's probably because I was Superman.

At five, who isn't?

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