As I mentioned in the story about the Drew twins, Barry was my best friend all through grade school, and most of high school. We drifted apart somewhere along the way. In any case, I want to tell you one quick “Barry” story to top off the day then I’ll let y’all be until tomorrow.
I think this took place during the same period of time the Drew twins lifted my little Austin Healey Sprite out of the yard—we were probably fourteen or fifteen. I know it was on a Saturday, because that’s when ABC’s Wide World of Sports was on, and that’s what started the whole thing.
Wide World of Sports was on TV on Saturday afternoons, and they always had some obscure sports competitions on the show—things you didn’t ordinarily see, or hear about. This particular Saturday, they were showing trampoline competitions, and it was some fascinating stuff to watch. Those guys were doing things on trampolines I’d never seen—or even imagined for that matter.
We had a trampoline in the back yard at the time—the only one in the neighborhood—and all the neighbor kids would come over to play on it. The most daring “trick” any of us could perform, however was a back flip. The things they were doing on TV that day made us look like kids. Oh, yeah, we were kids.
Anyway, the guys on TV were doing double flips, triple flips; frontward, backward, sideways; twisting and flipping at the same time; it was simply amazing. So right after the show ended, I naturally headed for the backyard and proceeded to bounce. I did my few little flips, and then bounced and bounced, thinking how in the world those guys could do what they did. No way was I going to try those twisting flip thingys.
Then I saw Barry. He’d cut through the neighbor’s yard down the street, and was jogging down the blacktop toward me. I knew instantly what was on his mind, and my suspicions were confirmed when he stopped at the end of the trampoline and said, “Get off.” He said it softly, with no malice, just letting me know he wanted the mat.
I stopped jumping, and said, “Don’t do it Barry.”
“Get off,” was his reply.
“Come on, Barry,” I half pleaded as I rolled to the edge of the trampoline and jumped off. “You’re gonna kill yourself, man.” I knew without a doubt what his intent was.
Barry didn’t say another word, just hoisted himself onto the trampoline and began to jump; up and down; higher and higher. His face had a determined set to it, but I could see, too, the trace of fear in his eyes.
“Don’t do it, Barry,” I pleaded one last time. Then he did it. Almost.
He soared into the air, did about a half twist, and I think he knew the moment his body started to turn, he wasn’t going to complete the maneuver. I sure knew, and I watched in horror as he crashed down onto the steel side-rail of the trampoline then crumpled to the ground.
I rushed around to where he lay, eyes squeezed shut, groaning, and clutching his side. I bent over him and trying hard not to laugh, said, “I told you not to do it.” He opened one eye and peered angrily at me for a second, then rolled away from me, got up and trotted across the yard and back down the street.
As he half trotted, half jogged away from me, I yelled, reminding him once again, “I told you not to do it!”