...Not the kind of wheel you fall asleep at...

The story goes like this:

You were maybe five years old. We were over your grandmother's apartment, for Christmas I think. Maybe Thanksgiving. Anyways, your mother and your grandmother are in the kitchen cleaning up the dishes and gabbing. I don't think any of your brothers and sisters were around yet. Maybe your brother? I can't remember. If he was, he was an infant.

So I'm laying there on the couch, dozing off some from that tryptophan in the turkey--maybe it was Thanksgiving then--some football or something on the television. You'd been playing upstairs in your grandmother's bedroom. I heard a noise on the stairs and, still groggy, I half-opened my eyes. There you are, perched on your grandmother's stairs, hands pushed through the railings, pointing a gun at me.

...The story's always the same, never overly pregnant with tons of irrelevant details, so it's stayed pretty consistent over the years. And it's been told many times--at least once or twice a year, always by my father over dinner, always when there's guests other than just our immediate family--new ears to tell it to. But even when there aren't new ears, we still like to hear these stories we've heard a million times (especially when they're about us). That special moment when you can bask in the grins of everyone listening, remark about what a dumb kid you were, that kinda thing. My dad's a good storyteller. That's why we don't bemoan our fate when he launches into a story we've heard thirty times before like we would other adults...

So I'm lying on the couch, wide awake by now, and you're pointing a gun straight at me, maybe 10 feet away. [...Me with my little dirty-blond page-boy haircut, freckles, probably some cute girlie green corduroy jumper...] I shout, "Rosemary!" hoping that would bring your mom or your grandma running into the living room. Meanwhile I slowly get up off of the couch and start to talk quietly to you: "Lauren, honey, put that down. You shouldn't be playing with that." You pick up something in my tone, maybe an undercurrent of fear, and you interpret it as me being disappointed in you or mad at you, so you start to tense up and cry. You continue to point the gun at me nonetheless. Meanwhile your grandma and mother have come in and both are shocked--open-mouthed and gawking but unspeaking. I weave my way around the coffee table to head slowly towards the bottom of the stairs, never taking my eyes off of you. I'm trying to talk soothingly to you, telling you to put down the gun, but my voice is coming out too urgent. So you're looking scared and continuing to cry. I reach the bottom of the stairs, your pudgy little hands are still wedged between the banister rails (I think you also got your head stuck in between those rails once too). I start to inch slowly up the stairs towards you when suddenly you yank your arms out from in between the bars. I feel relieved. But only for a split-second because you turn and point the gun straight at me again, not sure what to do, crying really hard now. My heart leaps into my throat and your mom and grandma are obviously terrified. The damn thing's pointed straight at my head. But finally as I work my way up towards you, you lower the gun, ever so slowly, and I take the gun from your hands.

Here there's usually a general exhale from the listeners who haven't even realized they'd been holding their breath. Then there's always a barrage of inevitable questions, the most common being:

Q: Where'd the gun come from?

A: (grinning) It was her grandma's. She was living by herself and was afraid of getting the apartment broken into. So she was keeping the thing... LOADED!... underneath her pillow.

Chuckles. And then we break out the dessert.


For those of you who haven't noticed, my comments sections weren't working this morning. So I caved and finally switched to a new server, which means all your previous comments were lost. *sniffle* So my apologies to all you diligent commenters. But keep on keeping on!

Your mission over the next few days:
I'm getting bored with trying to think up my own blogging ideas, so next week I'd like to write about YOUR topics and/or ideas instead. So think of topics/ideas you'd like to hear me ruminate on in my blogger next week, and I'll pick some of my favorites and (while worshipping your wit and intelligence at coming up with these ideas) use them next week in my blog. Thanks!



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