Chimney

Chimney: (n) the part of a chimney that extends above the roof; a chimney stack.

I grew up living in a brick home.

Dead center in the middle of our roof was a huge chimney. It was probably about one-third the size of the house. I don’t know why they made such a large chimney–the fireplace was tiny.

But affixed to the chimney, on the front, was a large letter “S.” Now, this had nothing to do with our name, so as young children we speculated on what the “S” stood for. We never actually came up with anything that made sense, but it filled some time.

What also occupied our interest was using our sloped roof as the bouncing area for a ballgame, where we tried to get the ball to bounce as near to the chimney as
possible without getting lodged behind it.

It was great fun–until the ball got lodged.

The chimney was so large that we couldn’t reach the ball with a long stick, and so, after three weeks there were six of our rubber balls stuck behind the chimney.

Every time I complained to my parents about the situation, they gave me a lecture on how foolish the game was in the first place and how if we didn’t throw the ball on the roof, it wouldn’t get lost behind the chimney. You see, to an adult mind, this logic made sense. But when you’re a kid, to eliminate fun just because it’s sensible is sheer torture.

So one day when my parents were away, we tok the youngest, smallest kid in our community. We called him “Toot.”

I’m not sure why. Maybe because it sounded small.

I stood on the bottom. Someone smaller than me climbed up on my shoulders, and finally, Toot scaled all the way up both of us, as we groaned in pain each time his foot stepped on our skin.

He got onto the shoulders of the fellow above me, and tried to jump over to the roof. He was able to get there–hanging by his fingertips.

We were scared to death.

We quickly tried to push him up on the roof as Toot struggled to pull himself up by grabbing shingles, which fell off the roof and onto the ground below.

Eventually, Toot, by some miracle, got his knee up on the roof, climbed up, raced over to the chimney, and threw down our six balls--and two frisbees which apparently had been thrown up there generations before.

We were so delighted that we forgot that Toot had no way to get down. He wouldn’t be able to get down the way he got up. So Toot sat on our roof waiting for my parents to return–because they had taken our ladder with them to do some work out on our farm.

When they arrived and saw Toot sitting on the roof like a little leprechaun, they were quite angry.

They quickly put up the ladder, retrieved Toot, and then began their lecture. They screamed, yelled, yammered and yakked for a good fifteen minutes. My friends wanted to leave, but my parents decided to be the disciplinarians for the neighborhood.

Afterwards, my mother turned to me and asked, “So what do you think about this?”

I thought for a long moment.

I probably should have thought a little longer–because without really being thoughtful enough, I replied, “Toot got our balls down.”

Needless to say, playing with balls was not permitted for me for several weeks.

 

 

Donate Button

Advertisements

Adirondack Chair

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Adirondack chair: (n.) an outdoor wooden armchair constructed of wide slats. The seat typically slants downward toward the sloping back.

If anyone asks you, Panama City Beach is very sunny in the first two weeks of March, but icy cold if you decide to sit anywhere near the ocean. (Just a little travel tip from the well-seasoned vagabond.)

The reason I can share this is that I rented a cottage near the Gulf one year, to spend a few days writing on my first novel. It sounded so romantic and exciting, with a bit of wild abandon thrown in for good measure.

This was before computers and word processors were portable and could be taken out into a thatched-hut cabana for creative purposes, so I was using an old manual Royal typewriter. The little machine was quite quirky, having a nasty disposition which caused it to occasionally refuse to register the “e” key. I didn’t care. I was a writer–and I was near the beach, transforming my thoughts into storyline.

Three things immediately came to the forefront:

1. Manual typewriters were invented in hell, to the devil’s glee–especially when you’re sitting out in a cabana with the cold wind blowing through, icing your fingertips. Now, I might agree that a certain amount of pain is necessary to stoke the furnace of composition, but I draw the line at frostbite.

2. The second problem was that my cottage was much warmer than my workplace, so my mind kept floating back to the grocery provisions stocked in my refrigerator, the television set sitting idly by, awaiting my return, and the room heater that took away the chill and made me toasty. So to keep from going back to being the non-creative lump considering the virtues of daytime TV, I would frequently step out of my cabana into the sunshine and perch myself to thaw out in one of those Adirondack chairs which peppered the surrounding sand. Thus, my third problem.

3. The first time I sat in the chair I was fine, because I didn’t allow myself to get comfortable. But the second time, the sun was so warm and glowing that I leaned back into the chair, sliding into that slope described in the definition, and I dozed off. When I awoke, I tried to rise to my feet to go back to my writing, and I realized that my posterior region seemed to be a perfect fit into the slat at the bottom of the back of the chair. I had wedged myself there–seemingly, permanently.

I and the chair were one.

At first I laughed, thinking that if I just wiggled or squirmed, I would be able to free myself. But no. In a matter of moments, terror gripped my soul. Try as I may, I was unable to unplug myself from the chair. Should I scream for help, only to be emotionally damaged for the rest of my life if someone actually had to uncork me? Should I stay there, hoping that after a few days, weight loss would trim my backside?

For some reason, it occurred to me to do the twist. Remember that dance? You wiggle your hips back and forth like working a hula hoop. It took about fifteen minutes, but finally my left cheek freed itself, and then, by brute force, I was able to rise to my feet.

I have never sat in one of those chairs again.

I’m sure for normal people, who do not have a rear end that parks quite so well, they are absolutely comfortable and adorable.

For me, they are ... the quicksand of furniture.