The minute I open my eyes in the morning my brain starts its hundred mile an hour surge to plan the day’s events. I love getting up and getting going. The sooner I can get out of the house the better. If I get noticed doing nothing I might have to do something as terrible as dusting, and I do not want to do any dusting. No thank you, I would rather not. Today’s plan is tackling the elm tree.
My first stop, breakfast, and not the one of champions. I hate those whole wheat, tasteless flakes. I need sugar and lots of it. Quisp, that is my favorite. It has a little alien on the box. He is floating around with a bowl of popped corn goodness. It is, of course, covered in sugar. I need to let it get a little soggy, because otherwise it will cut the roof of my mouth.
My mother sets my bowl out every night to keep me and my feet off her kitchen counters. It is purple and ceramic. My dad has a yellow one just like it, I don’t know where these bowls came from, but they are not part of a set. My brother calls them the Jethro bowls, because they can each hold about 3 cups of sugared bliss covered in vitamin D fortified liquid. I fill mine to the top with cereal and milk. When I am done, I drink every last drop of the now super sugary, nearly syrupy milk out of my bowl like it is a two handed glass. I debate packing a lunch and sneaking a sixteen ounce glass bottle of soda from the refrigerator, but I am sure this is not going to take all day. Besides, I would have to bring the bottle opener, and my luck mom would need it while I was gone and possibly come looking for it.
I am dressed in my favorite engineer striped Oshkosh B’gosh bib overalls. My ensemble is made complete with my green sleeved jersey with the white body. I love baseball shirts, they are my favorite. My Buster Browns are laced tight and ready for the climb. Last years high top gym shoes are still wet and drying on the back porch from yesterday’s frog catching adventures, or I would have worn those.
I go outside and check around for Frank, my neighbor. He luckily sleeps late, but I just want to make sure he is not outside. He is old enough to be my grandfather and has a habit of tattling on me to my parents. He and his wife Nancy are very nosey neighbors. They think they are doing a service to my parents, but usually they are just being a pain to all three of us Maki kids.
The huge elm sits in the corner of our field. It is quite possibly the largest tree in the neighborhood. This tree is as off limits as the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and I don’t care. I am going up it.
I stare at the elm, and it shakes its head in the wind. I swear it is teasing me, telling me I have an impossible task at hand.
“You are an elm tree”, I shout, clenching and shaking my fist at the thick skinned behemoth at the farthest edge of our lot.
I have to shimmy up about fifteen feet to get to the first branch. I consider taking my shoes off and using my bare feet for traction. I think that may be a bad idea, because eventually I am going to have to come out of the tree and a jump will definitely be involved. It takes all my muscle strength, all eight years of it to get to the first branch. I finally make it. The ground seems an eternity away. I take a rest and survey my back yard. I can see our brown ranch house, and Frank and Nancy DeProfio’s house. I can also see lots of corn stalks. It is near the end of summer so these stalks are nice and high and nearly ready to cut for silage. My cow, Moosta is grazing on grass and lazily roaming around in the field. She is so sweet.
I figure I better get a move on. I climb farther and farther until I am high enough to see over the tops of some of the other trees in the yard. We live on top of a hill and I am actually up high enough now to see past the hill. This is amazing.
“Crack, snap, pop” the branch yells out and the tree shakes its head in defiance.
I hit about five branches before escaping to an adrenaline induced happy place that resembles the womb and tastes of copper pennies. Then there is nothing but the dark.
I awaken in the field. I cannot breath, I cannot get any air into my lungs. I am panicking. I want to run, but I cannot move. I cannot breath a full breath. Even if I could get air, I could not yell, no one will hear me. My mother is on the other corner of the yard, in the house, possibly in the basement ironing clothes.
What did I do? Why could I not listen to my father’s advice about leaving the tree alone? Am I going to die here?
Moosta comes over and puts her wet nose on my face, she snorts her disapproval. She does not even want to look at me. She turns and leaves me there alone. Some friend she has turned out to be. How awful, I am shameful to a cow.
The air is coming in short gasps now and I am starting to feel pain in every part of my seventy pound body. The sun is coming through the branches and I can feel it in warm patches on my tear stained cheeks. The ground is cool because there isn’t any grass over here under the elm. It smells like rich earth over here.
My back hurts and I know it bruised. I think I hit the gate to the back field on my quick descent back to the earth. I am afraid to sit up, I have heard stories about people with broken necks becoming paralyzed for moving when they should not have. I slowly start to wiggle my toes and am pretty sure they are wiggling the same way they wiggled before I started this adventure. I then bend me knees like I am sitting in a chair that fell backwards to the ground. So far so good. I lift each arm independently and they both are working as they should. Now I have to move my head. My heart pounds so hard I can hear it inside of my ears, I can even feel the blood flow. I am terrified that I am going to be paralyzed if I move my head. I turn it from side to side and then repeat all the movements of my extremities to make sure I am not going to be a paraplegic now. I am now ready to try standing. I breath a sigh of relief as I become vertical and realize I can walk.
I give myself a once over. I need to check how dirty I am. I also need to check if anything tore. I don’t want a spanking on top of what just happened. There are no rips in my clothes, and all I can see is little crumbs of bark on my sleeve that are easily brushed away with my hand.
The sugar that fueled my adventure has all but dissipated now, there are no longer any signs of the energy it had provided earlier. The hill seems a little larger than it normally does as I trek back to the house.
I make it into the house. My mother must be done with her ironing because she is watching Days of Our Lives. I don’t know what she gets out of this program. I cannot stand the kissing and screeching antics of the overly made up women. She barely notices me come in, thank God there was not a commercial break going on or she would have said hello. If she said hi, she may have seen the tell tale signs of a poorly executed adventure.
My room is nice and cool, and the strong perfume of the roses that border the house under my window is filling the air. I think I will stick to an adventure written in one of my many books to finish off the day. I have had the maximum action tolerable for one Jethro sized bowl of Quisp.