Back in my early days when I was trying to figure everything out, one of the important issues that needed solving was what would happen if one sprayed an aerosol can of engine starting fluid down into an upright cement mixer with a lit candle in it. The answer is: a wondrous, billowing tower of flame, that was very worth repeating. On what turned out to be the last try, I sprayed some starting fluid in the mixer, nothing happend, so I sprayed some more, and then more. When I stood on my tippy toes and looked over the top to see what was amiss, it all lit.
I went running into the house to mom with a curious lack of eyebrows, curled up hair (possibly still smoking) and a red stinging face. Mom initially asked “what happened?” but was quickly distracted by taking care of me. I never knew why she never revisited the question of what I had done. I figured that she must of forgotten the question. Lucky me that moms can be so forgetful.
Decades later, I come to understand how moms can be so forgetful.
One day about 15 years later, I was changing the brakes on a car at my childhood homestead. While engrossed in the project, I had noticed my 7 year old nephew, Nicholas playing with and rolling around one of the wheels. I thought nothing of it, what can he hurt.
When we broke for lunch, it seemed that Nicholas was a little dirtier and more scraped up than usual, even for him. He seemed to be choking back some tears but he held it together. Not an unusual sight in a raucous family.
When finishing my project some hours later, it appeared that the car had only three wheels. I could have sworn that it came with four! I looked and looked to no avail. Then it occurred to me to ask Nicholas. He did NOT know where it was but was extremely helpful and eager to help me look. After looking together aimlessly for a short while, he noticed a tire track going down the steep asphalt driveway. I couldn’t see it. How can you see a tire track on a paved road. This boy is a tracker! Perhaps he has some Native American in him. After following his amazing instincts for quite a ways, we found the missing wheel laying in the bottom of a creak.
I could picture the chain of runaway events. I then looked and his scrapes and bumps, thought about my “forgetful” mother, just smiled and said “thanks for finding the wheel.” Nuff said!