46: Showing Off

46: Showing Off

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Home Sweet Home

Showing Off

My father used to play with my brother and me in the yard. Mother would come out and say, “You’re tearing up the grass.” “We’re not raising grass,” Dad would reply. “We’re raising boys.”

~Harmon Killebrew

The property in rural, southern Ohio where I grew up was straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting. Consisting of nine acres with a gigantic front yard, a wooded ravine, and a small pond, it was the perfect place to raise seven boys.

Situated next to the ravine, our house dominated the landscape. From the sink at the kitchen’s corner window, Mom could look over the entire back yard, where nothing escaped her surveillance.

The only reason that we lived in such an awesome house was because of my Dad’s Herculean efforts. Dad was a hard-working man, but not averse to the occasional clowning-around-for-a-laugh. And Mom knew that all too well.

One summer, Dad and his older sons decided to build a tree house in an elderly oak just beyond the backyard fence. This led to a beautiful Saturday afternoon in June, with my Dad hammering away on the only portion of the tree house that was done so far — the floor. At the time, my brothers and I were working beneath the oak, doing menial tasks that Dad assigned.

Suddenly, we boys heard a branch snap and looked up — seeing one corner of the floor give way.

My brother screamed “Dad!” while I watched in horror.

Dropping his hammer, Dad grabbed for the nearest branches, but they were too far away. He slid on his hands and knees down the sloping floor, and his body launched headfirst over the side.

In the kitchen at that precise moment, Mom happened to step to the sink, where she witnessed Dad execute a perfect somersault in midair and land safely on his feet.

Immediately, she stormed out onto the back deck and yelled “Jack! Quit showing off in front of the boys!”

After Mom traipsed back into the house, Dad looked at his sons, and we all busted up laughing. If Mom only knew…

~John M. Scanlan

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