Saturday, December 18, 2010


Whenever my daughter tells me she’s done something incredibly stupid
I ask if she’s outdone my great uncle Cradle
Cradle isn’t his given name but being the youngest,
It was what everyone called him

Life on the farm in the 20s and 30s could get tedious
Convince Cradle became a game four of his older brothers would play
“Milk tastes best from the teat Cradle”
A round of antibiotics was required
“Ma found you on the doorstep Cradle”
His birth certificate was the only thing that stopped his tears
“Hey Cradle, do you want be a paratrooper?”
Cradle agreed readily
Who wouldn’t want to be a war hero?
They took him out to the old barn with the peeling red paint
Up to the dusty hayloft barren except for a few spiders looking for a new home
Since the hay bales had been cleared and sold a few weeks ago
They led him out the barn window out onto the roof
Their sister Diamond saw them from where she was scattering corn for the hens

They called to her, “Bring us Ma’s old umbrella”
She did as she was bid and joined them up on the roof of the barn
“Take the umbrella Cradle. Jump, count to three and open it, it’ll be like a parachute”
Cradle jumped.
His leg took six weeks to heal in a cast
While his leg healed, his brothers did his chores
They chided him for waiting too long to open the umbrella
“If you had opened it on time, you would have been fine”
He had counted to three he argued
“When did you start your count? After you jumped? That’s too late”
The cast came off and his brothers took him back to the barn
“Do it right this time Cradle. How can you be a paratrooper if you can’t even count to three?”

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