Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Great Crossing

It was a blistering summer afternoon when my brother and his friend hatched a plan to set out upon an epic journey to obtain the most sought after item for any child. Yes, that item was called candy. This amazing plan consisted of the two neighbor boys, my brother Scott, and I traveling on foot to the nearest market in search of this allusive sugary delight we so greatly desired.  Our fellowship consisted of my brother and his friend Todd, who were both 8, along with my rather hefty friend Kelly and me who were both the ripe old age of 6.

Here we see the typical 6 year old boy in the wild.
As we discussed the great distance to the nearest store, called Y.J.’s Market, my brother came up with an outstanding strategy for saving precious time. You see, the market was on the other side of the interstate from our house and the excursion would involve traveling down to the underpass that was a mile east, cross under the interstate, and then travel the mile back west to the market. His superb plan was to cut across the freeway directly to the market. Brilliant!  So like Arthur’s knights in their search for the Holy Grail we too set off upon our epic journey.

What could possibly go wrong?  Right?
As luck would have it Todd and Kelly’s house was backed up against the freeway and their father had stacked cut logs along the fence making perfect step.  Once we reached the top of the fence we just hurled ourselves over the top and landed on the south shoulder of the interstate. I often wondered what the faces of the motorists passing by must have looked like as they saw the four of us lined up on the side of the asphalt waiting for them to pass so we can play human Frogger across the traffic lanes. How many 911 calls were actually made that afternoon will forever remain a mystery.

Once we saw a gap in the traffic flow we made a break for it.  As I ran across the lanes of traffic time slowed down and I swore I could hear the Chariots of Fire theme song in the background, although that could have come from the passing Honda that almost took out Todd. My brother and his friend ran faster followed closely behind by myself with portly Kelly pulling up the rear. When we made it to the large, grassy median we paused for a moment to catch our breaths and waited to make our final push to the opposite fence. Seconds later we were off again!  Meer feet from the side of the freeway I heard a shriek from behind and spun to see my gravitationally challenged friend trip and fall face first into the fast lane bouncing as he came to rest on the white dotted line. 

You can't prove that was us.
I distinctly remember seeing a maroon car blazing towards us with its horn blaring as I ran back into the roadway to pick up my stout friend Kelly. There were tires squealing and cars swerving while I dragged him to safety. I equate this sudden burst of might to the strength a mother finds to lift a burning car off her child. There I was, a loving mother dragging my obese child through the number two lane to safety. Finally, after what seemed like forever we reached the other side only to find Todd and my brother up against the fence laughing uncontrollably at the certain doom that was unfolding before them.

"LOL! He fell in the street... oh stop... I can't handle it!"
After we crawled through the barbed wire fence that led us away from the interstate, Kelly getting stuck twice of course, we made it to our objective; the candy isle at Y.J.’s Market. Once we had gorged ourselves on our sweet bounty we reviewed the first half of our journey and concluded that, for the return trip, we should probably take the long way around instead of risking Kelly almost dying again. This rational mostly likely came upon us because we were no longer in a candy-frenzy and were able to think rationally like normal 6 and 8 year olds.

Child logic dictates that there is no such thing as too much sugar.

I often look back on this story with fond memories.  Not only did I feast on fistfuls of candy but I also was a hero that day.  I dont know where Kelly is now but Im sure he is on his knees right now thinking God for my heroics.  To all those small children out there that are reading this account of my life let this story be a cautionary tale.  My lesson to you is this: Do not risk your life by running across a busy interstate in search of temporary pleasure if you are prone to falls or too large to make it through the barbed wire fence on the other side of the interstate.

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