We’ve all told those stories. The ones we think are so funny. The ones that we start to tell and gauging by the look on the listener’s face, you can see that it’s really not THAT funny. The kind of stories that bring you to these words, “You had to be there.”
This story may be one of those stories. But I’m going to attempt to capture what it looks like as our family gathers at the lakehouse for after-dinner conversation. First, a little background. My family, parents, brothers and their families, and me and my family, spend most weekends at the family lakehouse in southern Indiana. (Yes, there are lakes in Indiana.) A typical day includes a leisurely breakfast and newspaper reading out on the upper deck. Then little by little we all don our swimsuits and make our way down to the dock to sunbathe, read some more, swim, kayak, ride the Sea Doo. Then as soon as the kids start begging, we take the boat out for tubing, skiing and wakeboarding for hours at a time. We break for a late lunch. Do a little more of the same in the afternoon. Then someone makes appetizers and brings them down to the bar at the boathouse, where everyone swarms like vultures to a dead raccoon. After we are satisfied with appetizers and drinks, some a little more than satisfied in the drinks department, we venture in for showers and dinner preparation.
The seventeen of us, plus any friends we may have invited, sit down for dinner on the upper deck, overlooking the lake. The kids usually eat inside and quickly get back to playing their indoor soccer or huddling in front of the T.V. down in the basement. The adults light candles, turn on soft music, watch the sunset and continue pouring the wine long after the meal is finished.
Labor Day weekend marks the end of the summer season for us, which means it’s the last weekend we are all there together until next May when we will do it all over again. Because we want the time to linger, no one rushes to clear the plates or clean the kitchen. This past weekend the theme of our stories was: running into glass doors. It started innocently. We were laughing about the two incidents that had happened that day.
About half of us were down by the water, when we heard a loud thud. We glanced up toward the house and saw my oldest son, tripping out of the doorway with the sliding screen door at his feet. He was running from his cousin and had forgotten there was a screen door he should open before attempting to run outside. The screen came off its roller guide and both Son and screen were now outisde of the house.
As we sat down to dinner that night, I noticed the screen door from the sunroom was also off it’s roller guide (excuse the lack of correct term) so I asked what had happened. Apparently, my dad was so focused on his food that he didn’t see the screen door had been closed. Bam! He, too, attempted to walk right through it.
This started the running into glass stories. I told them how we still had the outline of a bird and his wing span on our front window at home. I shared some of the stories from a previous blog post titled, “I Scare Myself.” We tried to sound concerned before we erupted into laughter at my mom and dad’s friend who had run into the glass door the weekend before. They say she walked face first into the sliding glass door that separates the sunroom from the great room. She stood stunned with her head bobbing like a cartoon character and the imprint of her lips, nose and forehead stayed on the door that night as a reminder to the rest of them to be careful. My mom, the ever-so-cautious one in the family, tried to figure out how to find a decal that wasn’t tacky that we could put on the door, since their friend wasn’t the only one who had run into the glass door.
The stories moved into other embarrassing moments, like the time my nephew was in the computer lab at school and he smelled something strange. He asked his friend next to him if she smelled it and she said, “Yeah, I think it’s over here,” then added the quote of the night, “smell my computer.” So Nephew leans over to get a whiff of her computer, but as he leans his chair rolls right out from under him and he lands on the floor. He said he didn’t want to move. The computer lab was full of high school students ready to point and laugh at him. “That’s the last time I tried to smell anyone’s computer.” Whether it was the wine, the mental image, or the quote, “Smell my computer,” we all roared in laughter.
There were several other stories that had us in fits of laughter that night, but none of them will translate well here. Except for this one. We had started to discuss Nephew’s new college roommates when we heard another thud. We looked in the direction of the sunroom and, no kidding, there in a heap was my friend’s little boy. He had just come out to tell his mom that he was “disappointed” in his brother. He’s four. The word choice, in and of itself, was funny. But after my friend counseled him to run back inside, he tried. He ran with all his might. Right into that dang sliding glass door. We couldn’t believe our eyes. I didn’t want to laugh because he was crying in a pile. I wanted to make sure he was okay… and then laugh. So I did. When my friend got back to the table, she couldn’t hold it in any longer. Seeing her laugh gave us all permission to let loose.
So you may have had to be there, but if you try hard enough to conjur up the sound of heads hitting glass doors and faces dazed and confused as to what just happened, you may find a little space in your belly to let out a laugh, too.