ďIím gonna go play on the hill, Mom.Ē I hopped down the back steps and popped my umbrella open. ďA spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go downÖĒ I sang and skipped my way to the hill that separated our yard from the Thompsonís. Itís a gynormous hill with a steep drop.
I love the hill.
The Thompsonís have two boys. Me and my big brothers play with them all the time. We meet at the hill and decide how to pass a lazy Saturday.
We love to play with our Tonka trucks in the dirt and pretend weíve created a new community. Pinecones, rocks, sticks and whatever else we find, become houses, factories, schools, and stuff.
Pinecones are often gathered and stockpiled for war. I donít like to play war. I get too many welts. The only one I can out throw is Matty, heís the baby of us. Tonyís the oldest, then my brothers, Bobby and Cody. Iím the only girl.
Sometimes we play for hours on the rope swing. Bobby can do the best Tarzan yell. Mrs. Thompson is afraid one of us will break a leg or something. She gave us an old mattress to plop on when we make our jungle cries and let go mid-air.
We have two half-built tree houses in the big firs on the hill. We strung fishing line between soup cans and talk on our ďphonesĒ twenty-five feet apart.
We also have spitting contests. We take turns standing on the big rock and work up a big olí lugie. We huck it as far as possible and someone runs and marks it with a stick. You donít want to stand out there and wait for the lugie Ďcuz none of us have real good aim. Iím a pretty good spitter, though. I even out-spit Tony once.
We play for hours under the huge trees. We never get bored at the hill.
I watched Mary Poppins today and had this awesome idea to see if the umbrella could let me gently glide down off the top of the hill. I didnít take very long to decide where to jump from. I hit the ground half-way down and did a perfect tuck-n-roll to the bottom. It sort of hurt.
I figured that I didnít jump from high enough and hadnít allowed time for the wind to catch under the umbrella. I brushed myself off and climbed up for another go at it. This time I went to the tallest part of the hill and waited for a breeze to kick up.
I felt like the Wright brothers with their flying machine. In an instant I knew it wouldnít work. Too bad that instant was after my feet left the ground. I tuck-n-rolled down the hill and scraped my arm up. Drew blood, too.
I think the trees were blocking the way for the wind to give me full lift off. I spit-cleaned the injury and headed for Dadís shop to find his hard hat from work. I found his knee pads for when he has to do a chore on his boney knees. I decided they could come in handy. I also commandeered his safety goggles. Why? I do not know. It had been my legs and arms that got banged up, but Iím sure the goggles looked cool.
I got grease on my hands and wiped them on my pants. I couldnít let my grip slip on my umbrella handle. That could be disastrous. I headed back towards the hill and stopped short at the sight of the ladder leaned against the roof of Dadís shop. We leave it up Ďcuz we always have to adjust the T.V. antenna. Dadís shop is right up against the house.
I looked at the ladder, and up to the eight-foot-high flat roof. Iíve been up there lots of times. We throw our parachute guys from there and Cody has jumped off the roof a million times. Bobby says heís stupid.
I climbed the ladder and stared at the ground. Sure looked higher than eight feet when youíre thinking of jumping.
I held my umbrella high and just like Cody does I hollered, ďGeronimo!Ē
Ouch, that hurt. Iím not sure what part I didnít do right, the tuck or the roll, but I sure didnít float like Mary Poppins.
Mom wasnít too happy when she saw the broken umbrella and the grease on my pants. Bobby called me stupid.
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