And now for something completely different. From my Weekly Column...
I had a friend once who always showed up at kids’ birthday parties with one present - a large ball. I knew she was on a budget, but still – a ball?
I’m here to tell you at every party it was a huge hit and it was all you could do to get the kid back to open up the other presents. I was shocked every time. Not one to be swayed by reality when faced with mommy peer pressure, I never had the courage to show up at a party with just a very large ball. But I never forgot how fun it was.
With summer insisting we all get our sunscreen on and hit the pool, the kids decided to break out their own very large ball. Very, very large – in fact it’s a GIANT inflatable ball, easily four feet in diameter and after nearly sending three of us to the hospital for oxygen, we blew it up to spherical perfection at the neighborhood pool.
Endlessly entertaining, the ridiculously large ball played the part of a slippery island, a monster, a bomb, and, at one moment, a way to conk your sister when she was becoming obnoxious.
Even a ball has its dark moments, I suppose.
When it was time to pile into the car we discovered that the ball, which had traveled to the neighborhood pool mostly deflated, was now far too large to fit in the car with passengers. This particular fact of geometry did not dissuade Sierra, who at 12 has a little bit of a stubborn streak (where could she have gotten that from?).
She squeezed herself and the giant ball into the front seat but discovered she was pinned in place and couldn’t reach the door handle, let alone close the door.
“Move the seat back! Move the seat back!” her sister shouted from the back seat.
“It’s already all the way back!” she shouted back, her voice muffled by the ball.
“Tilt the seat!”
Sierra moved slightly, the plastic of the ball squeaking in protest against the dashboard. No go.
“Why don’t you just deflate it a little?” I said between laughs.
Both children looked at me as if I was crazy. Hadn’t we nearly died blowing it up to the absolute perfect level of plumpness?
There was no way… well,… around it. We pulled the plug and let out some of our last gasps - and laughed all the way home, having had a “ball.”
Giant inflatable ball - definitely on my next gift list.