Wooden Skateboard

Posted: August 17, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

July 4th, 2010

You’re not smiling. Probably because you’re out of quarters for video games or maybe because it’s really hot.

It’s the summertime heat that drove all three of you to the grassy shade near the Zoom Flume that day at King’s Island. Your sister’s friend Caroline, with her dark skin and dark humor that always makes you belly-laugh. Your sister Kathy, back when people said she looked like Sheena Easton. Back when people knew who Sheena Easton was.

And you.

I’m guessing you were fifteen at that point, give or take a few hormones. 1981. Those glasses – the big plastic frames that broke when you fell off the front of the skateboard and Dad “fixed them just fine, goddamn it” with superglue. Remember that skateboard from fifth grade?

All the guys at Saint Michael’s had one, so you asked and begged for one – even though Mom and Dad had two mortgages and money was so tight. But your birthday was coming, so Mom took you to Wayne Drugs, which had items like sport equipment and five-year diaries under one roof. You studied the skateboard display: hard-plastic skateboards – in flashy colors with a lip on the back to ‘pop a wheelie’ and do the stunts that were not yet a fad. Next to them, sturdy, wooden skateboards – with red racing stripes and resin wheels, guaranteed to sail across the pavement.

Your friend Chuckie had a wooden skateboard. He acted so cool riding around the parking lot behind school, so you picked one just like his and you could hardly wait to tell him the next day that you would be getting a skateboard for your birthday.

But – the next day – when you got to the playground and told of your proud, soon-to-be-part-of-the-skateboard-crowd status, Chuckie squinched his face tight and said, “You coulda got a plastic skateboard and you picked a wooden one?”

# # #

At forty-four, I think of you often. I get caught up in the glorification of then and the denegration of now. Life now seems complex and difficult. Your life at fifteen, through the murky channels of memory, seems graced, and lucky, and full of promise. In my mind, I look back and envy your full hair, your slim hips tucked neatly inside white painter’s pants – your certainty that life holds something grand just for you, waiting to be awarded in a fantastic ceremony of lights and applause.

But I look at this photo and I think about your wooden skateboard.


For fun, I post my stuff at www.GregoryGerard.net.
For serious, I post my stuff at www.JupitersShadow.com.
I invite you to visit my stuff.

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