“You’re never too old to be young at heart. I think a lot of people take life too seriously. We are all here for a short amount of time, so why not try to enjoy each day as it is given? Sometimes, I think my son and his friends think I am mentally at their 13 year-old level with my constant joking and participating in their backyard games.
One story I enjoy telling takes place on my back porch right after New Year’s Day. We had taken our Christmas tree down and I placed it about 20-30 feet away leaning up against my daughters swing set. Keep in mind the tree was dead and in my immature mind it meant figuring out a fun way to dispose of it. So, as any responsible father would do, I asked my son “what do you think about shooting this large sized roman candle into the Christmas tree and see if we can catch it on fire?” His response: “Sounds like a great idea dad!” So at about 10:00 p.m. my son and I stood on the back porch with this large roman candle in my hand with the excitement of 1st graders on Christmas morning.
“Dad,” my son asked, “does that roman candle just shoot regular flaming balls?”
“Sure!” I said with unfounded confidence as I really had no idea what this type of Roman candle was.
I lit the fuse and pointed the Roman Candle out into the darkness where the dimly lit Christmas tree was leaning. The first shot had a tremendous kick to it and it was at that point I realized that this Roman candle actually shot Artillery Style Shells that have their own propulsion which explode into large red, white, or green designs . . . like you would see at a 4th of July fireworks show. That first shot bounced around in the tree for a full second and then exited out to the right towards the edge of the property and exploded. At this point, most dads would realize the danger here and start aiming the Roman Candle in the sky for safety sake. Not me, I had a mission to set this tree on fire! So the next shot enters the tree and it bounces once and launches itself straight back at us on the back porch. We both let out a yell, I do a tuck and roll to try to avoid a direct hit, and then all I see is white light and hear a loud explosion between where I was now laying and where my son had been standing. When the smoke cleared and I could see again, my son was nowhere to be found.
“Great” I thought to myself, “I have just disintegrated my only son!”
I yelled out for him and with ringing in my ears, heard him respond “DAD!” He had enough cat-like reflexes to run around the other side of the porch and was well protected from the blast.
“Son, you must never tell mom about this little accident!” I said sternly.
“Yes sir” he responded with a little smile.
I looked down at my pants and through the light shining from the window I could see all the burn marks on my pants. “Dang,” I thought to myself, “Not sure how I would explain those.”
We decided to go back into the house as both of our ears were ringing badly and we had enough excitement for one night. My son entered the house ahead of me and my wife was back in the bedroom.
“Mom!” he said, “Guess what dad just did?”
So much for our little secret. Anyway, this led to another discussion from my wife about adult responsibility and maturity, which I think she has now given up on after 18 years of marriage.