In my mind lately, I’ve been replaying an event that happened about fifty years ago. I believe I was seven at the time. It involved a boy, (doesn’t it always?) and it was one of those things that still seems inexplicable. It’s been on the back burner all these years and at the time, being so young, I didn’t read much into it. But now? Hmmmm.
I remember that a boy from around the block was waiting for me down the stairs. Not inside the house, but outside. My parents owned what was called a raised ranch. It sat high up and there were twenty-one steps in a few twists that led up to the front door. As kids, we often counted the steps in a chant or silently to ourselves when alone I can just hear the people on HGTV’s House Hunters saying that all those cement steps wouldn’t be safe for kids/dogs/old folks. But you know what? These were the fifties and sixties, and my parents just so happened to make it work out safely. I only skinned my knee once running up the first little trot of five steps. But back to the story . . . there was this other time . . .
Paul P. waited while I ran into my house for a few minutes. At the age of nine-something, he was an older man! He also had his own group of kids to hang with, so why he was on our street then, I don’t know. I remember he was blond, and in later years when I saw Sam the Butcher on The Brady Bunch, I thought he could have been Paul’s father because they looked so similar. No offense to the actor who played Sam the Butcher, but that’s not saying a whole lot, I know. Yet there was Paul, cute to me then, and I began picking up the pace as I scrambled down my steps. After all, I didn’t want to keep him waiting!
At the top of the first landing after the four porch steps, I lost my footing. I remember pitching forward and instantly thinking this wasn’t going to be good. And then somehow, I ended up five plus steps later, upright and totally fine as if I’d done a huge somersault in midair!
I was not a gymnast, not even close. I had the Wetzel klutziness. I was cursed with it as a matter-of-fact. This wasn’t an overdose of negative thinking, it was the truth. I wasn’t coordinated. I could run fast and beat the boys in a race, but other than that, I sorely lacked finesse. My attempts at the cartwheel were laughable. I threw like a toddler. My moves were not like the future famous Jagger, but more like Romper Room stick horse riders (Baby Boomers should be able to relate to this).
When I shook off the fright of what had almost happened to me, I continued down the steps. Paul had been looking down the street and never witnessed my acrobatics. Nothing on me was even a bit scathed! Thinking back, my wrists or hands should have at least exhibited some mark or been achy. That was never the case.
So how can I explain this? Was there indeed an angel who helped me do a midair flip? Without the benefit of a rewind button, I’ll never know. But I’d like to think that it was an angel. Have you ever had something happen to you that defies rational explanation?