BECOMING BETTER

Jean Croker Petke


New Sport?

New Sport?

The Boy (four-year-old grandson) and I are spending a few days together. His parents are here as well. They have to do the challenging parent stuff. I get to do the fun stuff.

The other morning, way before breakfast, we created a new sport for his monster trucks. We call it Banister Racing. There’s no chance it will become an Olympic sport, except in the realm of little boys — and maybe some bigger boys too.

The Boy and his daddy are already experts at monster truck racing. They have their own rules and special vehicles. I think they race nearly every day — sometimes across the hardwood floor, sometimes down the length of the couch, sometimes on the carpeted bedroom floor. If you wreck I hear you may qualify for a wrecker trophy.

But . . . they’d never done Banister Racing . . . until I arrived.

As I sat on the top step, observing the kitchen breakfast activity below, The Boy brought one of his monster trucks to me. “Do you like this one, Gramma?” he asked. We’ve previously had many discussions about which of his gazillions of Matchbox cars and monster trucks I like best. He’s nearly certain I’ll like the red monster truck he has in his hands. He knows red is my favorite vehicle color — for real and for play.

It was then I got the idea of running the monster truck down the banister, just to see if it would work. The banister is perfect: smooth wide wood, steep slant, carpet at the bottom.

“Let’s see how far it will go,” I said to the Boy.

He showed appropriate little boy enthusiasm as I lined it up for the banister run.

“Oh no!” he exclaimed, as it fell off the banister a fourth of the way down and crashed upside down on the step.

“Let’s try again,” I said. “We have to make sure we have it lined up straight.”

We’re more careful on each of the next runs. One run made it half way down before falling off and crashing. Other runs were shorter. But we kept trying.

Finally, the monster truck got almost to the lower end of the banister, jumped off the end, and struck the six-pack of Cokes sitting on the floor, with a metallic crash.

Daddy, who was strategically placed at the bottom of the stairs, jumped into action. “A can is leaking!” he said, looking up at us. We stayed in place while he pulled the can from the six pack, dumped it in the sink, and grabbed paper towels to soak up what had spilled into the carpet.

With the crisis contained, The Boy and I ventured to the kitchen without stepping on the wet carpet, to assess the can damage. The can hole was so large it didn’t leak, it had immediately dumped its entire contents on the carpet. We were amazed by the size of the hole.

Beverage cans are no longer stored at the end of our banister racetrack.

Until next Tuesday . . .

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