Friday, January 4, 2008

The Amazing Bouncing Boy

Utah can be a great place. When we arrived about a week ago, the temperatures were in the teens (Fahrenheit). It was so cold that my nostril hairs would get stiff. The temperatures during the daytime would climb into the twenties, which seemed to suit everybody who lived there just fine. One of the side-effects of this extreme cold is that the snow would become really icy.

When we were at my in-law's place, I took my two older children to a local park which has the best sledding hill around. Since people had been riding down the hill, the cold temperatures essentially iced over the hill to make it really fast. Kids were literally standing at the top of the hill pondering how safe it was to go down. To top it off, there were bumps at the bottom of the hill where, when you would reach your fastest speed, you could be thrown off the sled or tube. People were at the bottom videotaping people who dared to take the hill, perhaps for legal purposes.

So it was that I took my children there, borrowing some tubes from my wife's sister's family. They joined us as well, but not until after I had the chance to send my kids down the hill first. I sent my daughter down, who managed to make it down to the bottom with a smile and a mild wipeout.

Then I sent my oldest son down, who somehow magically found the largest bump at the bottom of the hill, which summarily launched him airborne. From my vantage point at the top of the hill, it appeared he was tossed at least three feet into the air. With a thump he came down and landed flat on his back. Then he just laid there. The people who were videotaping came running over, and I thought I could hear his cries drifting up the hill on the freezing breeze.

To be honest, all I could do was laugh. Other people at the top of the hill were also chuckling and some commented on how that was the best wipeout they'd seen all morning. With a huge fatherly smile on my face, I did my best to trundle down the hill to comfort him. He was embarrassed by the whole thing and complained about back pain for the next two days. He was so afraid of taking another spill that he absolutely refused to go down again -- yes, he only went down once the entire time we were there.

The funny part is that even though he was afraid to go again, I asked him if it was fun. His answer? With a sheepish grin he said it was fun ... until he landed.

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