Thursday, February 5, 2009

A story from my childhood

Having spent these past few days in hibernation, I'm slowly getting up to speed with the blogging world again. The sell sell dudes wrote a throwaway line on their t'riffic blog, recommending a tin tray or bin liner as excellent makeshift sleds. This triggered a rather bittersweet childhood memory, which I have recorded below in a somewhat weird style that goes from Enid Blyton to John Caples and back again:

I was a lad of no more than eight years when my brother and I awoke one morning and gasped in wonder at a blanket of white covering the ground.
In a dash, Rupert arranged to meet some chums at the field behind our school to go sledding. But there was a problem – we only had one sled.
“Don’t cry, Little Realmenwritelongcopy.” said Father, “I have just the answer.” He disappeared into his shed for several minutes before appearing with a beaming grin and the most curious sled I’d ever set eyes on.
It was a black plastic disc, of around 18 inches diameter. A piece of string was tied through a cylindrical fastening at one end.
My brother snickered, but Father assured me, “This is a sled like no other, son. A sled that will win you friends.”
So off we set. My brother pulling the family wooden sled behind him. And I with my magic, lightweight sled tucked under my arm.
When we arrived at the field, the older boys came to inspect our transports. My brother’s was met with widespread approval before they turned to me.
“What have you got there?” thundered Ginger Edwards, leader of the gang.
I reached under my arm and, trembling, pulled out my sled.
Well, it caused quite a commotion. The boys were howling with laugher so much that at first, I had no idea what they were saying. Eventually, the laughter died down enough for me to make out their cruel words.

Dear Reader, my sled was in fact a toilet lid.

Tears stinging my eyes, I marched up that slope in double time, questions racing through my mind. I couldn’t understand why Father would humiliate me like this. And yet, his last words echoed in my mind, “A sled that will win you friends”. I sat upon my plastic disc defiantly, and pushed off.

They Laughed When I Sat Down on the Toilet Seat but When I Started to Fly!

Instantly a tense silence fell on my friends. The laughter died on their lips as if by magic. The toilet lid was in fact the perfect sled. Its convex base and flawless polished surface gave me speeds hereto unknown of a boy on snow. As the ground raced beneath me it was a powerful (and fast!) lesson in learning to trust Father.

When the sled finally slowed to a halt, the field resounded with a sudden roar of applause. I found myself surrounded by excited faces. How my friends carried on! They shook my hand - wildly congratulated me - pounded me on the back in their enthusiasm! I was the most popular boy in town.

That night, I returned home flushed with pride, holding that toilet lid aloft like it was the World Cup. My father was waiting at the kitchen table when I got in and I thought I saw the softest of knowing smiles on his lips as he asked had I enjoyed myself?

“Well father” I chortled, “You were right. It certainly is a sled like no other!”

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