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Here’s one for the birds

Kesley Colbert Contributing Writer

There are some things you just cannot “get back” in life; a special moment; a sterling recompense; a meaningful crossroads; a light bulb awakening; an occasion that eclipses all others….

Raise your hand if you have been there.

These moments are serious and life changing! And they live on long after the “ah-ha” dies away….

Mom sent Leon, me and David Mark after a Christmas tree. Leon carried the ax because he was the oldest. We had crossed the big ditch and ambled past Archie Moore’s pond. Leon was passing up all kinds of acceptable trees.

And we were getting further from the house, “How about this one?”

He didn’t even look back. We were almost in sight of the railroad tracks when he pulled up beside a tall, kinda gangly looking pine.

“Leon, this ain’t no Christmas tree.”

“I’m thinking.”

Me and David stood in silence as he walked slowly around, and back around, this most unremarkable tree. It was getting colder by the minute. And we were going to have to drag anything we cut a long way back to the house.

“Leon, this ain’t no Christmas tree!”

He musta not heard me. He began measuring out the rope we’d brought along to tie the tree up to make hauling it out easier.

“I wonder,” he finally spoke, “how far we could catapult David if we tied the top of this tree to the stump back there and let it fly.”

Most times, if Leon thought of it, he tried it.

I had to shinny up the skinny pine and tie our hauling rope around the top branches. All three of us pulled with all our might to get that tree to bend back to the stump. As Leon tied it off, I got to thinking how this landing might not turn out exactly right for David Mark.

“It will be OK.” Leon was the best I ever saw at working out the details as he went along. “The snow will break his fall.”

There wasn’t a quarter inch of snow on the ground! And most of it had about melted. Leon solved the problem by having me and David hand rake a pile of snow up in a “landing” spot about fifteen feet out from the tree.

I still wasn’t sure this was the sanest plan we’d ever come up with. And it was getting us nowhere towards finding a Christmas tree. But I will admit, I was a tad interested myself to see how close we could land Dave to the “spot”.

David was five or six at the time. He’d do about anything Leon said. He didn’t bat an eye. He just crawled up on the stump and mounted the top of that bent-to-the-near-‘bout-breaking-point tree.

Leon counted down like we were launching a Buck Rogers spaceship. Folks, let me tell you, when he got to “zero” and cut the rope with one giant swing of that ax, we had liftoff!

Dave was in the air for five minutes. He overshot the landing spot by the length of a semi-truck and trailer!

Right before he hit the ground I had my first ever ah-ha moment—BOTH of my brothers were slap-dab out of their minds crazy!

The realization that I was the only normal child my parents were raising flooded over me.

Almost a decade later found me standing on Billie Jean’s front porch. We were both seventeen. We’d held hands though Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds.” Moonbeams bounced of the sidewalk as I walked her up the steps. Talk about perfect!

And remember here, how cool I was in 1964.

I asked her to go to the prom with me. And since I had birds on my mind, I figured I could kill two with one stone, I threw in that we might as well go steady since we’d been dating for—

The laughter started down near her belly. She had to put a hand on the chain holding the swing in place to keep from doubling over. It took her a few minutes before she could speak.

She didn’t exactly say that she wouldn’t go to the prom with me if I was the last guy on earth! But she came pretty darn close to it….. The moonbeams melted and the night grew dark and cold.

And I discovered several things about myself and those special “life moments” before I could get back to the car. Maybe I wasn’t as cool as I thought. And those dim yellow porch lights don’t always give off a romantic glow…..

And some moments you just don’t ever want to get back!