Never Should Have Been Born
Then Ryan said, we are having a luau at the school and we volunteered to bring the pig. Apparently they had obtained a very tame pig from somewhere and led it upstairs for the slaughter – there was blood from hell to breakfast and the pig was fighting for its life. I just shook my head and went into a rage for a minute – I told them I wanted the pig gone and the bathroom cleaned when I came back – and went back to my car and took an hour drive to calm down. These nincompoops of mine didn’t have the faintest idea of how to slaughter a pig. Now once again the words of Mathew 26:24 came into my head. “It would be good if that man had never been born”. I thought to myself I don’t know if that applies to me for bringing forth these children or to them since the continued to not even slightly graze the edges of civility.
We went on vacation for a week once and left the kids – 4 through 14 – at the time in the charge of a law school student and his wife. No problem right, they could handle the kids easily for a week. Well it seems that the activity level was way above normal during that week – and we had ignored the phone messages sent to the Cook Islands.
As we pulled up at the house, the law student rushed out luggage in hand, demanded his money and left as soon as he could reach his car. His one comment was that his wife was in the hospital from all the things the kids did to her in less than a week, including putting the youngest one in the clothes dryer and not letting him out. Among other things she had been hospitalized for was extreme fatigue. Most kids attempt to use their parent’s signature on an excuse note not to attend school. My mob had an elaborate printing scheme that exactly duplicated my signature.
Glenwood Springs has one of the largest swimming pools in the world – we all went over on the train and stayed at the hotel where Doc Holiday died of Tuberculosis – no AC, just fans in each room. Everyone was excited to get in the pool, however three of the boys were in one room and decided to try the firmness of the bed. I’m sure you are starting to get the picture – Aaron jumped up on his bed using it as a trampoline. Only problem was the fan. Yup, bounced right up into it. Its amazing the amount of blood that can come from a head wound. This wasn’t too long after the pig incident and it was close as far as buckets of blood. Especially since he ran around and was hard to catch – sure that he’d been scalped. Towel to stop most of the bleeding and then a trip to the town Doc to put in about 25 stitches. Again the words of Mathew came into my mind. The doctor also said his blood work showed traces of marijuana. This was after intensive interviews where they promised me they didn’t touch drugs.
After a particular nasty session where they were using a sled to go down the stairs in the house, they ask if they could jump off the back deck into about three feet of snow that had fallen. I told them no, it was too dangerous and their might be something beneath the snow that could injure them. Their reaction was that I was too cautious and they wouldn’t get hurt. They grumbled and mumbled and finally left the living room. About ten minutes later I heard a muffled Whoosh and a great deal of laughter. I went out on the deck and found that since permission hadn’t been given to jump from the deck, it must be okay to jump from the roof – all total about 24 feet from where they were jumping to the snow line. I gave up, just watched one of them do a somersault as he came off into the snow. No one got hurt until the four of them jumped together and banged heads as they did a swan dive into a bigger pile of snow they had made. The incidents that made me think that if would have been better to remain childless, be able to read a book and the newspaper, not wondering why one of the town police cars were parked in front of the house when I came home about half the time.
My second son mooning the Principal’s wife – booted from school for a month. The youngest getting his learner’s permit, driving to school the first day and running into a car stuffed with Samoans. The Islanders were not happy, and I mean “really not happy”, and wanted physical satisfaction (“we beat you up”). A financial settlement was reached rather quickly when I came to the rescue. Aaron suspended from school for a semester after a beer drinking truancy.
They wanted to take an air conditioner – (Swamp Cooler really) off the top of a house. They put ropes on both sides so there were two holding the rope on the opposite side to let the air conditioning unit slide down to the ground to be loaded into a truck. Result, forgot that the A/C weighed more that the rope holders, so up in the air they went as the conditioner came roaring down, smashing through the rain gutter and swung in to take a huge chunk out of the stucco – suspending the rope holders 15 feet up against the opposite side of the house. I thought again about how not being born would be a lot easier for them and for me. I’ll bet there were other parents who didn’t worry every time their children were out of sight because they had no posterity. I began to think that there was not a lick of common sense in any of them; of course they were not aware of that, they would argue to the opposite.
Putting a new battery in the Hyundai with me supervising – they forgot to hook up the long steel rod that holds the battery in place – I turned my head just for a minute and they slammed the hood shut, with of course a nice round piece of steel sticking up through the bonnet. They all learned to drive in a VW Bus – yup, had to put in a new transmission. The favorite trick was whoever’s turn it was to have the bus that week would run it until it was out of gas, making sure it was pointed up the hill to our house. The next driver had to coast down and get to the service station to put gas in. I slowly got used to seeing the Bus sitting by the side of the road waiting for the next driver to head downhill.
Probably the best car story is when they jacked up the bus (I never found out why) and the oldest boy was underneath. He told his brother by the jack to raise it a couple of inches. ”Yup, here we go again,” said my son. The jack handle was turned the wrong way and down came the VW. Basically pinning son number one underneath. The ground was a bit soft and damp and there is pretty good clearance on a VW Bus but his chest had been compressed about an inch and his head was turned sideways with metal on one side and dirt on the other. They immediately jacked the car up so he could wiggle free and be rescued, right? Nope, while he was trapped and in some pain they made him apologize for all the wrongs he had done them and promise that he would do as they ask in the future. Uh Huh. Took about 15 minutes and then he was too shaky to take revenge. I was way past the panic stage when these stories were related to me. After all – all six had facial scars by the time they were Twelve.
One last story to help you see why I considered the scripture from Matthew on a regular basis. I was just starting up our long steep street when I could see three large objects coming down the road towards me – I thought aliens had finally landed. I pulled over to the side and in a brief second here came the projectiles. I was sort of right about the aliens – It was three of my sons – each sitting on a large commercial garbage can turned on their sides with the cover opened up bouncing along the asphalt. They were plastic so no sparks, but I estimated the speed at around 30 miles per hour. To control the velocity and steer they dragged their toes, heels and soles on the asphalt leaving brown tracks of leather four blocks up the street. They also steered (sort of) by leaning one way or the other. I was sure they would turn over or the cans would cartwheel with resulting in one of our regular trips to the hospital. My second son barely clipped my car as they rushed by. Somehow they all made it down where they had son number four with the VW Bus ready to haul the cans up for the next run. Next time one was riding inside the can and two riding on top. Of course the plastic on the can wore out on the side touching the asphalt after four runs. Once again the words of Mathew 26:24 came into my head. “It would be good if that man had never been born.”
And while occasionally that thought has gone through my head as I was drawn into the latest shenanigan (usually involving some sort of disregard for law enforcement), I wouldn’t trade any of the six for anything – I can only hope that their own children can match their feats – I’d love to see about ten grandchildren roaring down that hill on garbage cans.