I think it’s a safe assumption that those three things don’t go well together. It’s a play on words with the title of a 1958 Jimmy Stewart movie that also starred Jack Lemmon, Ernie Kovacs and Kim Novak, “Bell, Book and Candle,” a comedy about love potions and such. It has nothing to do with this, but if you haven’t seen the movie, well, I love Jimmy Stewart movies. Mr. Stewart was quite the poet, also, in case you didn’t know. He used to pull a sheet of paper out of his jacket pocket on “The Tonight Show” and read them. I have a book on my bookshelf titled “Jimmy Stewart and His Poems.” I highly recommend it. One of my favorites is “The Top Step In The Hotel In Junin.” (It’s pronounced “Who-neen” and is a small town in western Argentina called “Junin de las Altos.” I have no idea what junin means, but the rest of it means high, so it must be high up somewhere…oh, yeah, Argentina.) Here’s a little excerpt: (and I’m damn proud that I spelled that word right the first time.)
“But this top step has something quite special.
A very ingenious device:
It’s half an inch higher than the other steps.
A whole inch to be more precise.
And it uses this inch as a weapon.
The guests of the place to harass:
For when you reach the third floor
of that hotel in Junin,
the top step trips you right on your ass.”
Like I said, this has nothing to do with a bell, a book or a candle. It was Father’s Day. A rather pleasant day in fact. My two oldest daughters and their families came over and cooked me steaks on MY grill. I mention that only because men know how to cook on a grill, women, not so much. Maybe there are women out there that have mastered the art of grilling, maybe, but burning meat on a grill is what men do. We are expert at it. If you hand a man a piece of raw meat he will grill it to perfection, whether he uses charcoal, as my son-in-law swears by, or the more efficient propane grill. I’m convinced that it is in the male genes. Something passed down from caveman times shortly after someone discovered fire…which, I’m sure, was also a man. Just sayin’. Although I’m also sure it was probably by total accident.
We were sitting around the outdoor table, under the covered patio, digesting a very acceptable meal, in fact talking about the methods of grilling, propane versus “Kingsford,” when I noticed my grandson hitting an aluminum bat against the roof edge of the covered patio, directly behind my oldest daughter who was sitting on the end of the table. The bat was there because we had intended to play softball in the “back 40″ during the afternoon, but the sun was hot and there wasn’t much if any shade out there, so everyone decided softball was out. The bat was left laying there on the patio.
Now, there is something that tells you things are not going to go well as you’re sitting there watching your grandson hold a bat over his head and pound it against the roof eave, pretty much directly in line with the head of his aunt. And sure enough, he lost his grip on the bat and it headed directly for said head. As it bounced off unconstrained, while the grandson tried desperately to recapture it in his grip, it made a distinct bell sound as it recoiled away to the ground.
Unlike “Chicken Little” his aunt thought the sky was falling. In the split seconds between hit and pain, she thought a large ceramic bell, that I have hanging a good distance away from where she was sitting, had fallen on her head. I watched as her face went from shock, to, bless her heart, intense pain. Then tears. Panic. Everyone on the attack. All directed at the grandson who now took off at brisk pace through the back yard gate, followed at a run by his mother.
Of course, all the rest of us around the table were now concerned about the condition of the victim. Did she feel dizzy? Was there blurred vision? Did she have a headache? (I thought that was a rather stupid question.) Was there blood? A bump? Yes there was a bump. I was expecting someone to start searching “WebMD” on their smart phone. A zip lock bag of ice materialized and she convinced us all that she was going to be okay, but we kept asking anyway.
Grandma was able to calm down the now completely overwrought eleven-year-old boy that was, by now, convinced that he had inexplicably inflicted severe damage to his aunt’s head. There is something about a boy that age, I don’t know, they just can’t process the simple action-reaction event. ”If I do this, what could happen?” doesn’t enter into their thinking. Consequence is just not part of a boy’s composition. We learn it over time, to think before we act, but not when we’re eleven. We just do it. Consequences be damned.
The oldest daughter is fine now. The bump is gone and, more interestingly, the dent in her bumper miraculously disappeared. Let me explain.
Someone crunched her rear bumper in a parking lot and, in rare fashion, left a note on her car apologizing for the damage and giving all the identification and insurance information necessary. She contacted the insurance company and was paid for the damage. The estimate in the $600 range. Needing the money for other things, as is often the case, she worried how she would later afford to fix the vehicle.
Then yesterday, while she was gassing up the car, she noticed that the dent in the bumper was gone! A serious dent, as she described it, that creased the bumper, made of plastic as most car parts are these days. The bumper had completely resumed its place in the back of her car, almost like it had never happened. A few minuscule scratches is all you can see. I know, because I looked at it. It’s been in the high 90′s the last couple of days, and the only explanation we can come up with is that the heat of the day popped the dent out of the bumper and returned it to it’s natural curve. Go figure. Kind of like her head. WTF.