Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Adventures with Pete: part ?

An excerpt:

When I was growing up my dad had these wild stories about his childhood adventures. He was quite the storyteller. There was this guy Pete that was a central figure in his tales. He grew up in this tiny coal town in northeastern Pennsylvania and Pete was his best friend. All in all though, my dad’s stories would not have been anything without Pete and quite frankly Pete took this place of grandeur in the history of my family, though I never met the guy. 

My dad is long gone, as are most of his siblings. I cannot recall his stories about Pete so I am not going to bother trying. Instead I will share with you my own adventures with Pete. The Pete of my childhood gave me great courage and confidence. He was a gentleman and a true supporter of my cause. Pete was one of those few true friends that I could count on one hand.

It all started on a playground while our mothers played softball down the street from his house on a warm evening in late-spring. I had broken my hand a few days before while riding my bike. The break was a compound fracture so my hand was both stitched up and extra tender under that cast. I was climbing on a jungle gym and there were these boys that were going to great lengths to tease me. Still flat-chested at the time, I was asked to prove I was a girl. As I climbed with a cast I was told I was faking my injury as no kid in their right mind would climb in that condition. Pete witnessed this and came to my immediate rescue. That was all she wrote. We were friends instantly.  This remains true to this very day.

I have decided to share my adventures with Pete. With the grandest of eloquence and in the spirit of my upbringing the stories told will be just as wild, mostly true, occasionally embellished, and at times stolen from my other life stories because Pete would have made that tale epically better. They are recollections of my life and times on this planet. I have always loved to tell stories. Pete has filled the shoes of that monumental and somewhat metaphorical figure that has taken a place in my literary history. He has encouraged me to tell my stories. He has promised to be the one person I could count on to read this book, family aside.

So , just what happened that day on the playground that solidified my allegiance to this guy named Pete?  I was the quintessential tom-boy, always hanging out with the boys climbing trees, skate-boarding down steep hills not to mention in traffic, playing football, building forts, playing with matches, creating impromptu bon fires, starting mud fights and arguing about taking a shower afterwards. I had a few good role models. My mom was a Phys-Ed teacher, my dad a science teacher and HS football coach. There was also a shortage of girls my age in the neighborhood that liked to get dirty. Huckleberry Finn was my hero and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Twain 1876) was my bible. I much would have been a boy-scout than a stupid old girl scout any day. It stated when I realized after climbing up the geodesic dome of a monkey bar contraption with a cast on that getting to the top was easy, getting down on the other hand was not so easy, actually, it was downright frightful.  There were at least four overly assured boys and two really mean girls giving me hell that night for being stuck on the damn monkey bars. I felt like that pigeon being pelted by stones in that public service film we used to have to endure every so often in school. You bully something defenseless long enough it will die was the moral of the short feature. In any case, there were all these kids destroying me and then there was Pete, a defendant in a protective shiny covering, le chevalier dans briller d'armure, my own personal Don Quixote (Cervantes 1605) defending me from the windmill that was the playground.  First he helped me down. I honestly think my predicament scared him a bit. Then he stood up to two of the boys giving me grief. Defending my honor as a girl. He treated the situation in a way akin to a brother sticking up for a sister. Whatever he said, however short and sweet was impressive enough to build a fortress without worry of future retaliation.

A few weeks later I invited him to the small lake by our house to swim. After hours of diving off the dock, splashing each other with cannonballs, rating jackknives, playing tag, racing each other to the raft, engaging in the ritual game of Marco Polo, and having near death experience chicken fights, we finally collapsed on our towels in the sand to start what would be a decade long, potentially cancer causing, wrinkle fest of a competition called who can achieve the darker tan. 

I have managed a bunch of pages in my long awaited writing endeavor. I am surprised at how easily it comes. I have been jotting notes, ideas, memories down on a mind map for over 3 months now. I am psyched that this is actually working well as a tool whenever I have the chance to spare a few minutes to write down a story into the template I have started. I was thinking about my book last weekend as I made my way home from Lake Placid, angrier than a bull pursuing a rodeo clown. Just as I was on the verge of tears from my emotional state a text comes in and its Pete. It was just a simple smiley-face. He had no clue what had transpired on the oval hours earlier. Matter of fact, I hadn't talked to him in at least 2 weeks. I am always amazed at his knack for knowing just where my head is at most of the time. Its almost un-canny. So you see, when I write that he may not have been in every story but he makes almost every story better, I do not lie. But that is not what I intended to write about now...

On Christmas night, Kenny and I hauled up to Pete's after a pleasantly long day at his brother's house. I really enjoyed Christmas this year. We arrived just as things were starting to quiet down but the important thing was that we arrived. Pete gave me the most amazing gift. It was a photo montage of our adventures in Maine, both in poster and calendar form. I was so touched. Yesterday, when I read his short storm adventures on Facebook I wished I was there at the studio, enjoying the hot tub rather than freezing my behind off in Lake Placid! Actually, I really wish he was here on a Lake Placid adventure with me, despite the freezing temps and his lack of skating capabilities. Somehow I think he would find it fascinating.

The time here in Lake Placid this week has been interesting. Its been really cold, and windy up until today, when the sun was so bright I couldn't see what I was filming this morning on the oval. I am surprised that I filmed anything. Its one of those weeks where I get so much reading done that you would think I was an avid reader all of the time. I have even managed the NY Times cover to cover before 10 AM each day. Its both hectic and relaxing. Chris is skating well, which is what is important,  after all its why we are here. He managed a good training session with Pat Kelly this morning and will be back for crazy eights tonight (his choice). Crazy eights is surprisingly one of Chris's favorite tough workouts that I wrote for him and Andrew two years ago.

It consists of the following:
8 lap warm up
2 x 8 laps easy, 8 laps moderate, 8 laps easy, 8 laps hard
8 lap cool down

I have spent the afternoon editing video from this morning and will have it posted soon.  Well off to secure some lock-tight and a few other essentials from the hardware store before hitting the ice again. More later!

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