One time, when Eddie and I were kids, we watched this programme about para-gliding. We liked the idea. We liked the idea a lot.
However, south Alabama is flat. Very, very flat. Very flat.
Undaunted, we determined we could find a way to fly.
Judith’s house was two stories. There was a porch that ran along the back of the house, and that porch had a flat roof. Even better, you could crawl out the window of my bedroom onto that flat roof. Eddie and I did that often. And we got in trouble every time we got caught.
But to fly. . . .
It was worth the risk.
Now that I think back on it, I wonder first at just how innovative we were and then at how we managed to get so far without getting caught.
I don’t think we actually sketched out plans. We might have, but Eddie and I were – and likely still are – quite rash, spring to action kids in many ways. We had a goal. We had ideas. We went to work.
We cut canes from the big sugar cane bush behind the house. We took sheets from the linen closet. Neither of us could sew, so we stapled our ‘wings’ together. We used old belts to create straps to attach our wings around our shoulders and waists.
Eddie went onto the roof first. I threaded the wings out to him through the window, then I crawled out. We helped each other attach our creations. I think we were both a bit surprised that the wings were quite unwieldy and unbalancing.
Our plan was to start at one end of the roof and run as fast as we could to the other end, knowing the wings would give us lift when the platform ended.
And we would fly.
“I’ll go first.”
“Why do you always think you should go first? And don’t say it’s because you’re a boy.”
“Because I’m older.”
“One week, Eddie. One week.”
“Fine. You wanna go first?”
“I’m just saying you always wanna go first. What if I wanna go first one time?”
“I just said you can go first.”
“Oh, sweet baby Jesus, what are you two doing up on that roof? Tell me that right now. Get y’allselves into that house right this minute. Right this minute. Right now.”
A few weeks later, once Eddie and I were allowed out of our rooms and were able to see each other again, we were lying in the grass watching a plane fly over.
“I still think it would have worked.”