Friday, September 4, 2009

A Vision of Pink Lightning: My First Boogeyman

I am eight. My father's almond shaped eyes focus on my newly scraped knees and limp form as I lay sprawled in pain on the gravel in front of our driveway. His expression is kind but one of exasperation. We are unwilling actors, he and I, in this unscripted play whereby I am a would-be bicyclist in training under his tutelage. This is all well and good except my Miyagi has grown increasingly tired of seeing his female lead always produce the same outcome no matter how many variables he changes in the scene. My prop is a small bike known only as Sweet Thunder. It is she whom I must master - my pink monster sans training wheels. Finally, I meet Dad's eyes and recognize that sadly even our dialogue has grown stale and cliched over time:

- "It's all right, honey. Perhaps, today was simply not your day."

- "Sure, Daddy. I guess you're right."

Now, imagine this scene played over and over again for a series of months.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Finally, one night I dream...not just any dream, but a vision. I see myself very clearly. I am on my pink nemesis. We are riding around the neighborhood and I am smiling at all my friends who are excited to see that I have finally bested her, my Sweet Thunder. They cheer in unison; they share in my triumph for they know I have tamed the beast.

The next morning with those images so tangible in my mind's eye, I calmly walk toward the front porch. Thunder waits there patiently. She has no reason to fear me for SHE is the predator. Calmly, I place my legs on the pedals. With a whispered Hail Mary on my lips, I release the brake and for the first time in my life, I ride. I RIDE. And ride...and ride. I do not look back. I do not collapse in a heap before my father. I have no need to. I am of of Thunder's hold on of my true As I round the corner and double back toward my home, I can see my father's figure on the adjacent sidewalk but I cannot make out his face, yet I am certain he is smiling. He knows.
-Sweet Thunder

My story may not be as "legendary" and most certainly not as charming as Thunder's
but it should explain what you need to know.
Most children love to walk about or even dance in their parents shoes.
I guess it makes them feel closer to us or maybe they become little Shakesperean
actors on their living room stage, acting out their future roles as mommy or daddy.
I happened to be more of a boot kinda gal as a young girl. I would mosey around the
house in my dad's big cowboy boots which meant in turn many a picture was taken
of my tiny frame (aw, what I wouldn't give to have the word TINY be in anyway a reference
to my, now, body type) standing with these thigh-high towers of leather strapped to my legs.

And as time grew on, and my life led me closer and closer to my dad's, these snapshots of the
past are, in fact, testimonial of what would truly take place in my adulthood. But lets not get
ahead of ourselves, we're just getting to know each other and all. So getting back on track here,
my dad, who through my hints, is a very important person in my life and has added much to my
identity, likes to talk a LOT. One evening back in my 20's we were re-watching Dances with Wolves.
He turned to me and said, "I think your Indian name should be Stands-in-Boots". It stuck and the rest,
as we said growing up, is "Lagniappe" which is French for "a little something extra" .

By the way, he of course didn't get off the hook. His is "Talks-Too-Much"....*cheese*



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