Friday, October 21, 2005

Raising Colorado

Uncle Bill and the ATV

Raising kids can be kinda like a Coen Brothers' movie. Especially with boys. Lots of action and the unexpected in an always entertaining, 45 degree angle through-the-cake sort of way.

My 12 year old son Andrew is a joy and a handful and I'm glad for both.

My brother-in-law Bill recently sent me the picture above. He's cutting his ATV out of a barbed wire fence.

Bill and his wife Jo live on a 40 acre (and no mule) property in Peyton, Colorado. Their place sits on the western-most edge of the Great Plains just east of Colorado Springs.

Bill loves the country life and hated living in Denver for many years. Jo likes the city life and wishes she was back on Broadway (the street in downtown Denver, not New York). A little like the plot of Green Acres, though an honest person would describe it as Brown Acres since the land is mostly tawny and dry.

Andrew likes to go fast. Uncle Bill has an ATV and doesn't mind 12 year old drivers. I don't either. So Andrew took advantage and got behind the wheel by himself.

Bill put a governor on the ATV that would keep it from going more than 10 mph. Or at least that was the plan. Turns out the governor didn't work as advertised. Funny how often that happens in real life.

Andrew took off in the ATV and immediately tried to punch it as fast as possible. He was driving down a well worn path directly alongside the barbed wire fence that encloses their property.

He got it up to over 20 mph within a couple of minutes and was loving life. No surprise there.

Afterwards he told me he spent about half his time looking at the path in front of him and about half of it looking at the speedometer to check out just how fast he could get the thing to go.

Before too long he hit a deep rut to his right along the fence line. As the right front wheel dug into the depression it pulled the ATV into the barbed wire fence.

Andrew is athletic and has pretty good presence of mind. When he saw what was happening he jumped off the vehicle just as it was hitting the fence. He sliced his hand but otherwise got out of it no worse for wear.

Andrew was stunned after hitting the ground, but once he'd gathered himself he called Janet immmediately on his cell phone. For a person pushing 50, that's gotta be the strangest part of the whole story. Little boys in the dirt shouldn't have cell phones--it's against the order of things and possibly even God's 4 Spiritual Laws.

She got his call back at Bill and Jo's house. Andrew told her breathlessly he'd crashed the ATV and his hand was hurt.

Janet heard head rather than hand.

Mom instinctively seized the moment and directed traffic. Family members rushed out of the house on the quick and scattered over the 40 acres trying to find the probably brain damaged boy. Scenes just like it have been repeated for millenia since people with lots of bad hair days began to walk upright.

Andrew, of course, was just fine. After finding him, everbody else spent the rest of the day getting back on an even keel.

It took a while for Bill to cut the ATV out the next day. When it hit the fence the barbed wire cut into the tires and wrapped tightly around the right wheels. That's what caused it to flip on its side.

If my own past is any guide, 12 year old boys don't learn too many lessons from experiences like this. Maybe paying more attention to the road and less to the speedometer. Or more likely, wishing there weren't any barbed wire fences to get in the way in the first place.

At least for a brief time in everybody's lives during childhood, that's just fine. And as far as some of us are concerned, there's something to be said for more than a little of that take after childhood too.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tom,

Thanks for the entry. What a crazy day for your family. I am glad that Andrew walked away. That was a wild picture.

John Teter

11:46 PM  
Blogger jon said...

I love the crazy quick-thinking athletic feats that little boys with good presense of mind can pull off sometimes.

btw - here's a question on a completely different topic. If the victims of hurricane katrina (and by that I mean the people who actually died in the disaster) were nearly all White, or perfectly evenly split between Black and White, rather than nearly all Black, would that change how you thought about the disaster and its response at all?

6:17 PM  
Blogger Wordcat said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7:01 PM  
Blogger Wordcat said...

Jon, you're endearingly persistent! You really should do your own blog. I'd read it and comment regularly.

I try to avoid hypotheticals since what happened is what happened.

But as a thought experiment, that's an interesting question. Probably not too much. As I mentioned before, I think the disappointing response was mostly incompetence.

I'm probably more in tune with the fact that most of the folks who died were poor. No surprise there. That seems to be the image that stuck with people and has caused this whole new discussion of poverty in the US.

7:09 PM  
Blogger jon said...

I do have my own blog, but rarely have discussions like this one on it. My posts tend towards the personal and national politics on show up at times where it intersects with my daily life. Since I already comment on national politics on my friends' blogs, I don't see much need to put it on my own

10:20 PM  
Blogger jon said...

"only" show up

btw - I like being categorized as "endearing" :-)

10:21 PM  

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