George of the Jungle
When I was child I had the worst luck ever. I broke bones ways no one ever has & have stories no one ever believes (which is the reason most people told me start writing). They make for good laughs at bars & 90% of the time I have to call my Mom just to prove they even happened. I reckon I should probably just start carrying my childhood X-rays around, or have at least one member of my family or childhood friend with me at all times to confirm that I’m not making these things up.
So here is one of my best friend Bridget’s all time favorites:
In first grade we got a lot of snow that year. It wasn’t anything too crazy, but we did get a decent couple of snow days. Now I was too young to go with my brother and their friends sledding (they didn’t want me tagging along anyway), and my Mom was cool enough to drive my brothers to a hill so they could spend the day on the ‘slopes.’
We had one of those old sleds that went crazy fast:
I spent the day at home with Mom. Snow angels. Making a snowman. Hot coco. I could care less what my brothers were doing because, to me. I had the best of both worlds. I could play outside till my fingers were numb, then when my fingers were actually numb, I could just go inside and eat and drink and be merry.
The afternoon was getting late and it was around the time my Mom had said she was going to pick up my brothers (remember the pre-cell phone era when we actually scheduled these things?) so we jumped into the car and headed over to the hills. I was itching to get on the sled. I begged the entire way there.
Mommmmmmmy, just onceeeeeeeee pah pah pah pleaseeeeeeee. The boys were sledding aallllllll dayyyyyyyyyyy.
When we got to the hill the boys had had enough of the cold & my Mom had had enough of my whining. You can go down the hill ONE TIME and THAT’S IT.
That was all I needed….
I braced myself because I knew this was going to be everything my first grade heart desired. I saw my brothers flying down as we were approaching in the car and I wanted to show off in front of their friends that I wasn’t just “some baby little sister” that was scared to do things. I picked up that flyer sled and hopped belly first down. Faster. Faster. Faster. By this time the snow was freezing over and was turning into ice. The tracks they’d been riding all day were established, but I was young and small so the sled was going anywhere it pleased.
Being 6 years old there’s some things you need to learn by trial and error. This was one thing I learned by trial and unfortunately error. On these sleds, I came to realize, you steer by moving the front two pieces of wood. Yes, you can steer them. No it is not safe to just jump on and go for the ride. As my sled went faster and faster I screamed for my dear life. until…..until…
until it happened. I can’t tell you what hit first:my head or my arm, but the tree was the roadblock that I did not want to use to stop the sled. I remember my Mom and my brothers running down to me. I think there were laughs…there were definitely laughs involved. And I laid there thinking about that moment of glory I so foolishly ruined. Damnit. Maybe next time.
My Mom took me home and prepped me for a wonderful night in the ER on her night off from work (one of many, bless her soul). I remember she used an American Flag bandanna as a sling. The hospital stay wasn’t long, but I didn’t have to go to school the next day.
My Mom was always strict about us going to school, so I was excited that I didn’t have to go the following day. Snow day, then sick day!? Booyah. I sat at the table and ate my breakfast with my good hand. That’s when she served it to me: Just because you aren’t going to school doesn’t mean you aren’t doing work today.
My Mom put the timer on and made me play with the god damn speak & spell for AN HOUR STRAIGHT. As if that machine wasn’t horrifying enough, as if SLEDDING INTO A GOD DAMN TREE isn’t bad enough, now I have to talk to this devil robot. Fooey!
So, in conclusion, this is Bridget’s favorite story because when I told her family what happened, her Dad never let it go. To this day he relentlessly will still sing the George of the Jungle song at me. I never did look out for that tree, and I’m still a bit weary when it comes to sledding, and now sometimes I have to spell words out like a fucking robot.