by Charles Lee
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Not For Sale
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Driving down a gravel road one day, I suddenly veered and careened and nearly lost control of my four wheel drive after seeing a head pop up out of the weeds on the side of the road. It was disconcerting to say the least, but eventually my heart started beating again especially after I ascertained that the “head” was attached to a person. We stared at each other and finally decided to speak and thus break the awkwardness that had arisen.
I gave the fellow a ride home and learned that he was a high school student at the local school. His name was Brian. After firing a few questions at him to discover the quality of the person that was sharing my vehicle, it soon became apparent that he was what I term as an “alright fella”; simply meaning that he liked to hunt and fish. After traveling the half mile to his house, we set a time to go scout some woods that I had recently heard about.
Now I generally assume friendship after the first couple of minutes of meeting a person and therefore that might explain the willingness that I had to ridicule Brian after a little mishap that came upon him. It nearly needed to explain my winding up in the emergency room.
Brian was a high school quarterback who wasted away his time getting in shape by running and lifting weights. I was a thirty something preacher who whiled away his time munching potato chips and typing on a computer. Therefore when the incident occurred, there was a moment that I wondered if I messed up by laughing at him.
As I said, we were scouting some woods in the dead of winter. Cumbered down with such inconveniences such as insulated suits, rubber boots, wool gloves, and ear flaps, we came across a creek that seemed impossible to cross. However, there was a log that crossed a little ways down that was perfect.
By some stroke of miracle, I crossed the log with little effort. That’s the way I remember it anyway. Then it was Brian’s turn. Halfway across, I saw the confidence fade quickly from his eyes. It was wonderful! His arms started to windmill and he began to do some sort of hula hoop dance in the middle of the log. I, of course, thought it was no time to be dancing and told him to come on and quit fooling around.
He was, however, not fooling around. He had lost his balance. “Jump for the bank” I yelled! How he did it I will never know. It surely would have beaten any long jump record. I wondered if there might be an Olympic event that required jumping off logs in the middle of a creek. Probably not.
Splash! As he walked up the bank, I tried to console him, but I was having a hard time breathing because I was laughing so hard.
The look he gave me made me regret that I was on the wrong side of the creek. “I wasn’t laughing at you, I was laughing with you”, I tried. Wet, cold, and embarrassed he suggested that unless I wanted to go swimming that I had better quit laughing. Party pooper.
Thankfully, after getting back to the truck, stripping down to his skivvies, and warming up, he began to lighten up. That was a good thing too because it’s hard to look at somebody in their “drawers” looking like a Smurf and not laugh.
That was the start of many adventures with Brian. He had the chance to pay me back many times over. It was then and there that I knew that since he didn’t kill me and leave me in the woods, we were going to be good friends.
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I really like this story; especially the way Brians' arms began to "windmill" as he did a "hula hoop" dance on the log. Vivid, comical, you made it easy to see. I would really like to see this one "cleaned up", that is, the wordiness of it could nearly erase the picture. Rewrites are emotionally taxing, but worth it. I would recommend that this one be "streamlined" yet in a way that the imagery remain intact, or better yet, is enhanced. Hard to do, but it seems you are a writer (as opposed to a hobbyist with a word processor).