Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Oooo Factor

There was a time when everything was amazing. As we get older and so very sophisticated, we should not forget how wowy the world is. I'm talkin' sparkles and things that make you catch your breath. It's o.k. to talk to animals and insects. Try saying, "I love you to the wind", or better yet to someone who needs their chin lifted.

I remember watching Fourth of July fireworks with my dad, when I was shorter than Bilbo Baggins, and telling him, "Daddy, let me go catch the falling stars." He was a pragmatist and probably said, "Not a good idea, its white hot molten magnesium and red phosphorus, you would burn your hand to a crisp." But to this day, I still think that if he had let me try, I might have been able to catch just one, and put it in a jar.

Then again... wait, I'm getting something...now that I think about that; When I was a young father, we took our kids and huge dog to see the fireworks at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Each year it's a serious display of pyrotechnics. Well, I wanted my little chickadees to be really close to fully experience that magic that I had pined for all those years. Sooo, we brought a picnic basket, a blankie, teddy bears, and our three wee bairns in their jammies all set for Daddy's surprise treat. Before the real action began, the hillside caught fire from a bunch of amateurs and their bottle rockets. This caused a little panic and some tourists burned rubber trying to get out in a hurry. We stayed put, this was the perfect spot right behind the Bowl itself. I was on edge after that, but the Pasadena Fire Dept. quickly got it under control.

As we waited for the fun, we sang sweet lullablys and calmed down to await the pretty sparkles. "It's going to be like Tinkerbell dust", said the father who hadn't thought things through. Turns out we were staked out right by where they fire off the rockets. All ten thousand of them.

What followed is a blur in my seared memory. A lot of deafening, KABLAMMMMS! KAPOWS! BOOSH! SCREEECH! KAJUNG! POW!! BLAMMO! BLAMMO! BLAMMO!!!..... You get the idea. Then there was screaming, and children running in opposite directions and the dog looked like one of those cartoon cats splayed out with fur electrified. He bolted off to hell. And the wifey looked at me like, "What kind of maniac father would do this to his family?"

Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time. The good news is I don't think they remember much, at least the therapy hasn't brought it to the surface yet. The dog never recovered. Complete wacko. I am a little deaf ever since. Yeah, come to think of it, I don't need to catch the sparkles anymore, been there, done that, thanks anyway.

9 comments:

BJW said...

This is great dad. You're hilarious. And I think it's coming back to me...

Deatheaters shooting fireballs in all directions, screaming, dog barking, muggles being levitated upside down by their feet. Yeah, it has come back. Then somebody let off the dark mark in the sky and everybody panicked. Good times. I think I escaped to fantasy as a kid, worlds where orcs hunted humans and the undead climbed out of cauldrons to wipe out mankind, to find safer, calmer places than my childhood. Aww Mordor, refuge from the storm.

I am kidding, of course. Though, I do think our family's early years had enough excitement to make things interesting. Good thing too.

tlc illustration said...

Heh- what a great story (and BJW, what a great alternate interpretation). When our kids were young, we lived on the east coast and settled for chasing and catching fireflies during those summer nights. Much quieter and less precarious! :-)

Richard Jesse Watson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Richard Jesse Watson said...

BJW, talk to my lawyer.

Thanks, Tara. I can't think of any critters quite as magical as fireflies. Makes summer memories delicious and amps the nostalgia way up whenever there are entities who fly and glow.

storyqueen said...

Those are the best memories for kids...the ones where the best intentions of the parents go awry!

The picture is soooooo adorable. Makes me want to write something with the Oooooohhhh factor.


Shelley

Richard Jesse Watson said...

I'd love to see what you come up with on the Ooooooh factor. I really want to get my hands on your books: Somewhere Today, and A Baby's Coming To Your House. They look delightful

ruthie said...

oh my that made me laugh, such images you paint. bought up with huge dollops of fantasy & faerietale dished out by wonderful grandparent i have always been all for feeding my kids imagination to overload its been incredible fun, i believe wholeheartedly in keeping that inner child alive and kicking, the world is a wonderful, sparkly, amazing place, its so sad that so many folks forget the magic when they grow up, it's as if their eyes sort of glaze over!

Richard Jesse Watson said...

I agree, Ruthie. Einstein said, "Imagination is more important than knowledge..." That, and a Gypsy caravan. And I also think that the "inner child" must be nourished, for he/she is our truest, most open self. When people forget the magic (in everthing) that once mesmerized us, then they just clunk around and start wars.

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