I write this in hopes that my two sons will read as they get older. Maybe it will help them understand the quirkiness of their father. I hope it puts a smile on your face boys. I love you both. Be Aware: Dad (me) has a faulty memory so while some things may not be factually acurate, this is how I remember them.
I was born in January and grew up in Tacoma Washington, a town near Seattle. At that time, and probably to this day, it snows a good bit. On my fifth or sixth birthday, lets just make it easier and say it was my sixth, we had a pretty good snow storm blow through.
It was the kind of day that a kid loves. Snowing outside, not a lot of wind, the snow is the soft kind that makes great snowmen and provides just the right amount of cushion to jump off the front porch. Which, by the way, I was forbidden to do but being six and knowing Mom was always wrong I did it anyway.
Mom kept the hot cocoa coming, so I remember alternating between the running in the snow and sipping hot brew at the fireplace. The easy life of a kid.
At the time my father was in the army but was on leave so was home. This was a highly unusual event, but made for a great day even better. Because as all six-year-olds know, when Dad is home all rules are open for new interpretation.
Dad and I spent the better part of the morning building a snowman. I gotta say Dad knew what he was doing. This snowman must have been 6 feet tall and about 4 feet wide at the base. We actually carved arms out of some icy snow and put them on thing. It come out pretty muscular and hulky looking. I remember being a tad bit frightend as it was so very very big. Remember I was six so I was still coming to grips with how tall adults were. (Side Note: Do you remember in 1st grade, how big the 5th graders seemed...giants they were. Or maybe that was just me.)
As I was saying before, it was my birthday and we had our little family celibration in the living room. After the cake my mom wipped a bed sheet off of my present, which was sitting in the corner. HOLY MOLY, I had gotten a Green Machine.
Now, let me enlighten you as some of the newer generation may not know what this awe-inspiring vechicular man-child toy is all about. Back in the day, big wheels were the state of the art way to travel for a six year old. (I still think they should be, but times change). A big wheel is like a tricylce except it has a huge wheel in front and was a low rider...sort of.
Well, the Green Machine, was the cadalliac of Big Wheels. Green and slick, it did not have a true wheel, instead you used these levers to spin the beast left and right. It was as tall as or bigger then me, and I could bareley touch the peddles. It was great for donuts and drifting though.
Now my Mom and Dad were never well off, so Mom had gotten a used one from the thrift store. (remind me to tell you some of my thrift store stories). So yeah, it was a little used. But hey this beautifull, speed demon of a machine was MINE and mine alone.
About 10 seconds after the un-vieling I was out the door. Now, use your imagination and paint a picture for yourself...Your looking at a street, covered in about 2 feet of snow. The side walks are sholved, but some of the snow has melted on them so thier pretty slick. We also lived on a pretty good sized hill. The hill stretched about 5 blocks and was probley at a 20+ degree angle. We were about 75% up the hill, so there is a long way down.
I'm slipping and sliding all over the side walk, my Dad's trying to show me how the levers work, but I won't stop peddling so he can't quite show me what I need to know. But I'm a clever kid so eventully I think I have the hang of it. Sorta.
I think at this point Dad got a little disgusted and figures he would let me do my own things. He goes to play with my younger siblings.
I in my infinite wizdom as a six year old, think that all I need is some momentum. Speed and momentum and then this Green Machine has to go stright.
So I push this thing, which is almost as big as me, up the hill about a block. Now this is the part that I remember most vividly about this day. I'm sitting on this thing, I can barely see over the levers and the wheel. I'm in the middle of the sidewalk and I'm looking down the street. The sidewalk looks like some type of roller coaster. A dark, icy wet rollercoaster ... with snow bumpers on the side to keep me on the track. At this point I begin to have second doubts.
But then I see my Dad, he's just noticed that I'm not "in the yard". He turns and yells "Markus", this startles me a bit, I lift my feet and ....... we ........ are ......... OFF!!!!
Fast and faster, At T minus 4 seconds I'm going to fast to bail out. I grab a lever. The beast scoots towards the road. Dad runs out waving at me to stay out the road. I pull the other level. The beast scoots toward the yard. I'm thinking "nice, this might work"...then I glance stright and realize that the sidewalks goes on for about 3 blocks, an eternity, and it is .....all .... down... hill!
A moment of panic sets in...I grab both levers and pull at the same time. The beast of a machine goes into a spin, throwing me out like a snowball shoot from a sling. I hit the snow bank and kinda... sorta... launch over it. Only to see the 6 foot tall GIANT CHILD EATING SNOWMAN looking to eat me. Screaming, I face-plant into it's enourmous stomache.
Dad's running over, but slips and falls and I guess he nudges the snowman because at this point it's arms fall off. Suddenly it wasn't quite so scary a snowman.
I remember laughing a lot, Dad not so much.
I don't know what happend to the Green Machine.
But to this day, I love the snow and I love birthdays.