Tuesday 1 May 2012

A First Time (For Everything).

There  certainly is.......

There’s a rock around these parts – it’s known as THE ROCK.

People jump off of it, it’s thrilling and there is water to catch you and the water is deep.

I didn’t touch the bottom.

Ok, if you are from Acapulco you would be over-under-whelmed but around these parts there is a summer pilgrimage.

Joe went.

Joe was, hang on, he has just celebrated his eighteenth birthday so he must have been about…. I don’t know, but he looked pretty skinny in his swimming togs.

Let’s say 13.

Maybe 12.

To get to The Rock (I’m not from Acapulco) you go in a canoe, you paddle, and then you stop and eat chips and think about it.

You watch the other jumpers.

A lot of people turn up.

The difference between a 12 year old and a 57-year old is that you wear shoes when you jump; you know it’s going to hurt.

Another difference is that when you are 57 you sometimes forget to wear shoes when you jump and then it really hurts.

But that’s a different story.

Joe didn’t forget, he was just too young to remember.

Joe watched his brother jump.
Joe ate a few more chips. Joe watched his friend Jump.
Joe ate a few more chips.
Joe watched his friend’s friend who had come from Canada to jump, jump.
Joe finished the chips.
Joe watched a 57-year old jump.

Joe asked if it hurt, the fifty-seven year old said  “jump, that’s the point of being here”.

“Oh, but wear your shoes.”

Sometimes 12 year-olds have a lot in common with 57-year olds. They don’t always heed advice.

They differ, though in one big thing. They have time, enough time not to get up before midday if the chance arises.

If a 57-year old decides to jump he climbs and jumps, he doesn’t have time on his side.

Joe climbed.
Joe stood on the edge.
Joe stepped back.
Joe turned.
Joe sat down.
Joe stood up.
Joe stepped to the edge.
Joe waited.
Joe stepped back.
Three people jumped.
Joe walked to the edge.
Joe leaned over as much as anyone can lean before a lean becomes a jump.
Joe leaned a bit more.
Joe stepped back.
Canoes stopped canoeing.
People stood on the bank.
More chips were ordered.
Chips were eaten.

Some jumps are just jumps, but with some, with those worth the effort there is a rock to climb.

Sometimes THE ROCK.

If a 57-year old sees THE ROCK he thinks, “do I want to jump?”

If he the answer is yes he climbs the rock and jumps, if the answer is no he doesn’t climb and doesn’t jump and doesn’t get hurt.

And he takes the canoe and paddles along the stream.

12 year olds think  -  “that’s a big rock”, “that’s a very big rock” and “this is THE ROCK.”

People who have jumped before finised their chips and stand up and start chanting – Joe, Joe go Joe”

Some muttered - “he forgot his shoes”.

The thing about rocks is that if you climb them there is no way back, you have to jump or stay at the top of the rock.

Joe looked back.
Joe looked down.
Joe sat.

No one else jumped, this was Joe’s Rock now.

Everyone else went and joined the crowd on the shore.
The chips were all gone, the afternoon was settling towards eve.
The chant’s stopped.
Bets were placed.
Helicopter rescue was phoned.

Joe jumped.

His skinny body seemed suspended in space.

It was.

Someone took a photo.

I don’t have it, sorry, it wasn’t me.

I cheered.

We all did.

I don’t think Joe heard it.

But his heart would have.

Happy Birthday Joe, keep jumping, it will hurt sometimes.

But what the hell.

We can live with pain, it's not jumping that can kill you.


Mary said...

Thanks Chris for sharing Joe's story.

James McMurtry made me cry.


popps said...

I'm hoping it was tears of joy.
Did you know the song?

Mary said...

No I didn't know the song or James McMurtry. Strange huh?

Am soooooo tired. And behind in my work. Panic is setting in. Must work. Can barely keep my eyes open.

Looking forward to BnB's months on firsts.


Anonymous said...

oh my god I am Joe's mum and I'm crying



from pebbles

popps said...

Ah HA!!!
So, anonymous is now Joe's Mum!!!
(actually i knew that).
Did anyone take a photo?