DId You Do That On Purpose?

It was a typical drizzly day in the foothills of Mount Rainier, and it must have been a Saturday or a Sunday, because it was mid-morning and I was home. For some reason—maybe the wind had blown it around—the TV antenna was not pointing in the right direction, so I was going to go up on the roof to adjust it. This was a team project, so Billy and his mom, my first wife, Evelyn, were enlisted to help.

The house had a simple roof design—peak in the middle and slope to both sides—and the antenna was located at the front peak. The carport was low, and since I had no ladder, I pulled my pink VW close to the carport, climbed on the car then onto the roof. I walked the peak of the roof from the back of the house to the front; doing so cautiously, as the side of the roof facing north had moss growing on it, and it was treacherously slippery.

I arrived at the front of the roof, and looked down to see Billy in the front yard, staring up at me with a serious look on his ten-year-old face. He was the relay man on this endeavor, and his mom was inside watching the TV, so she could tell Billy when the picture was good.

“He’s up there!” Billy shouted. I heard a muffled acknowledgement from Evelyn.

I was balanced on the peak of the roof, and as I gave the antenna a slight turn, I looked down at Billy who was alternating his attention between me and his mother. I slowly turned the antenna, watching for a reaction from Billy. I heard Evelyn say something then Billy shouted, “There!”

I stopped turning the antenna and waited for confirmation; false alarm.

“Nope,” Billy said. “She said go back the other way.”

I twisted the antenna back the other direction, and hadn’t moved it much when Billy yelled, “Stop!” He shook his head and frowned up at me, like he was really getting tired of my inability to follow his instructions. “Other way!” he said, hands on his hips, and a look of disgust on his face.

“There!” he shouted, throwing his hands out as if he was stopping traffic at a busy intersection. He stared toward the house, and when he got the thumbs up from his mom, looked up at me and said, “Perfect.”

I shook my head and chuckled, then turned to walk back down the ridge. The problem was, I turned the wrong way, and for just a split second, both my feet were on the north side of the roof; the mossy side. I was on my back and on the way down before I had time to realize the error of my ways. As I rocketed toward the ground, I heard Billy yell, “Oh shit!”

I was laughing when I hit the ground on my feet, but the laughter went away when I realized if I took one step, I’d be falling about fifteen feet down an embankment into a very—I’m talking very—cold creek that ran alongside the house. I waved my arms backward, wildly, and somehow was able to stop my forward momentum.

I let the breath out I’d been holding since starting my decent then looked to my right to see my wide-eyed son staring at me with a look of open-mouthed awe. “Did you mean to do that?” he asked in a hushed tone of voice.

I looked at him for a second then said, “Sure.” I looked back up at the roof and added, “It’s not that high.”

He looked at me with a slight trace of skepticism in his blue eyes, then vanished around the front of the house yelling, “Hey, Wes! Dad jumped off the roof!”

 

 

2 Comments »

  1. Sherry said

    Please tell me the boys did not try to follow your example!!!!

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