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Despite a few ups and downs, we all lived happily ever after

Despite a few ups and downs, we all lived happily ever after

By: By Chris Menees, Messenger Staff Reporter

Despite a few ups and downs, we all lived happily ever after | Just a Thought, Chris Menees
Some people live a storybook life.
Me? I live a comic book life.
On the plus side, it provides plenty of free entertainment for my husband and granddaughters.
I’m frequently on the receiving end of their practical jokes and it’s nothing unusual for them to intentionally scare me, just because they know they can.
The 6-year-old granddaughter enjoys leaving rubber snakes or frogs in any drawer she’s tall enough to reach. It allows her to pull her prank whether she’s there or not. Thus, her sneaky shenanigans frightened me one day this week when she wasn’t even there to enjoy my full-body quiver and the little dance that ensued when I found the rubber snake in a kitchen drawer.
The other day, her 11-year-old sister concocted an outrageous tale of something she planned to do just for the sole purpose of seeing my reaction. When it elicited a gasp and the wide-eyed response she wanted, she giggled and said, “I just love messing with you. It’s so easy.”
I think it’s hereditary. My husband — who may be growing older but who refuses to grow up — has been pulling these stunts on me for years. Honestly, we don’t need to celebrate April Fool’s Day; it’s every day at our house.
Lately, though, they’ve moved beyond the traditional practical jokes and have targeted my coordination — or lack thereof — as a whole new way to get some laughs.
I’m a klutz, an accident waiting to happen, a cartoon in the making.
I’m the kind of person who trips over her own two feet and who’s somewhat challenged by walking and chewing gum at the same time. Even though I was born on a Tuesday, I’m a walking contradiction to the popular rhyme that says “Tuesday’s child is full of grace.”
By comparison, the granddaughters are graceful. They enjoy gymnastics and ballet and other activities that require the coordination I lack.
One of their favorite activities is dangling from the many swings, ropes and other playground contraptions that my husband has placed in our backyard. In fact, one swing is suspended about four feet off the ground, requiring users to position a small exercise trampoline beneath it and take a giant bounce to hit the seat.
Therein lies the problem for me.
The oldest granddaughter recently convinced me to give it a try and, not wanting to be an old fuddy-duddy, I complied (at least to the best of my ability).
I gripped the chains of the swing and bounced as hard as I could toward the seat, only to miss it entirely. Determined not to be a quitter, I kept trying — and missed it again on the second try … and the third try … and the fourth try …
I looked around in search of support from my granddaughter — only to find her rolling on the ground, laughing hysterically.
“Do it again,” the 11-year-old urged.
Then, to add insult to possible injury, I heard the clicking of a shutter and turned to find my husband standing in the doorway, camera in hand to capture the moment. He had heard the laughter. (By the way — I’m saving the photos in case I need them for insurance purposes.)
Word of my prowess on the swing spread from the oldest granddaughter to the youngest. A few days later, at the coaxing of both girls, I decided to take a turn on a round disc swing attached to the end of a heavy-duty yellow rope hoisted over the limb of a very large tree. It’s a favorite with the girls, who scream and squeal as they take turns swaying in a wide arc, usually aided by a big push from granddaddy.
It felt a bit awkward as I positioned myself on the hard plastic circle and straddled the rope, but I was determined to have just one moment of glory with the girls. And then my husband threw me a curve.
“Let me spin you around like I do the girls,” he said.
I protested, telling him I wasn’t use to the swing and couldn’t grip the rope as tightly as the girls do. My plea fell on deaf ears as he grabbed the rope and yanked it back, me helplessly in tow on the swing seat.
“No, no, no, no, no,” I said, a hint of terror in my voice.
It was too late. I made one good wide arc before hubby realized that one of the granddaughters might be in the path of danger on the downswing. Rather than heroically pushing her out of the way, he made the split-second decision to grab the rope, give it a good jerk and abruptly end my ride.
I hit the ground with a thud.
First, I accused my husband of trying to kill me; then, I brushed myself off and limped toward the refuge of the porch swing.
No, I may never have a storybook life with a fairy tale ending, but for all of its ups and downs, I wouldn’t trade real life for anything.
In the fairy tales, they all live happily ever after.
Me? Well, maybe I’ll just settle for living happily — after all.
Staff Reporter Chris Menees may be contacted by e-mail at
Published in The Messenger 6.13.08


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