Dented metal slide - by Chris Woods

Posted on August 9, 2006

My brother, Chris, recently recounted a tulmultuous occurrence in our lives. Here's the text of that fateful day.

It was a warm sultry afternoon in residential Louisville, Kentucky; an afternoon that would make you thirst for a cool lemonade and a shady tree. Instead of lemonade and shade, Ben and Chris, brothers aged 9 and 6 respectively, chose to ignore the heat and play a little roundball on their grassy backyard court. It had been freshly mowed, so dribbling the ball was much more productive than it had been the previous couple of days. The game was on, and soon ended abruptly following a controversial traveling call. While ending the apparent activity for the afternoon, the game, the day was just about to get much more interesting.

Much to Ben and Chris's surprise, their basketball game had a spectator. A tall lanky kid, probably 16-17 years old, that stood in the next-door neighbors backyard mere feet from their uneven court. He was not help much in the disputed traveling call, nor was he a friendly lad. Looking rather suspicious and seemingly up to no good, he began tossing what appeared to be small gravel-sized pebbles toward the brothers' basketball court. If there were ever a deliberate sign of disrespect, it was making an already difficult to dribble-on court even more intolerable. In retaliation, 6-year old Chris decided to fight fire with, well, a flicker by tossing some of the fresh grass clippings over the chain-link fence that separated the brothers from the hooligan. This only sparked the elder lad to unleash a fury seldom felt by youngsters defending their court.

The pebbles quickly grew in size, from the size of peas, to pennies, to golf balls, and finally to near softball sizes rocks. During the progression, Ben and Chris were forced to seek shelter. Since the run to the house seemed impossible, given the barrage of projectiles, they ran to the nearest covering, a small sliding board attached to an all-in- one aluminum swing-set. Since the teeter-totter and conventional swing attached to the brown and orange swing-set offered little protection, Ben and Chris huddled under the half-inch thick 4-foot tall sliding board as what sounded like boulders rained down above them. It was far removed from what Francis Scott Key had witnessed some 170 years prior, but the fury of the rocks must have been comparable.

As quickly as the barrage began, it ended. It ended when a hero emerged to stop the attack. The hero was not dressed in armor, which one may think would be necessary to protect a person from the flying boulders, but rather was dressed in tight green shorts with a white stripe up the side, white athletic socks with two blue stripes around the tops and a shrunken white t-shirt revealing a nice farmer's tan from the previous day's work mowing the backyard. The knight 'not-in-shining-armor' was Ben and Chris's dad. The mere sight of him approaching the scene was enough to thwart the attack. Although it's not certain if it was the sight of an adult that scared away the attacker, or if it was the sight of the tight gym shorts that did it, Ben and Chris were relieved to finally emerge from under their cramped shelter. They were able to stand back and take in the scene; the sliding board was still there.