Picking up where the last story left off…
The next sound that tore through our home proved that he actually was. We hear, “Aaaaaaaahh!!!”, at the top of his voice, and in his thick northern New Jersey accent (if that even has an accent) Like a shot, he was sliding down the staircase at a speed that no one had anticipated. His makeshift toboggan had literally become a projectile! In its wake were 5 little kids trying their hardest to keep from falling, because they too were laughing and screaming uncontrollably. Phil was obviously having a blast, but unfortunately, he had completely underestimated just how fast he was travelling.
No one foresaw what happened next. Unfortunately, once he hit the bottom of the steps, his forward momentum was far from dissipated. About 10 feet from the bottom of the staircase was the front door of our home. Though it was sturdily constructed and built from oak, it also had a rather large glass window pane that covered the top portion of the door. So you can probably guess what happened next. WHAM!!
We didn’t know whether we should continue to laugh, or whether we should begin to cry. The look of bewilderment on the children’s faces was absolutely priceless. Without letup, they were continuing to laugh, while at the same time they were frantically looking from one adult’s face to the next to see if they could be in any trouble for what had just happened. When they finally saw their father rolling on the floor holding his side from laughing so hard, they then let down their guard and piled onto their Dad’s now limp and shaking body.
As it happened, what had caused my husband to laugh so uncontrollably that night were the many looks on poor Phil’s face, before, during, and after the crash. While sliding down at breakneck speed, his look had quickly morphed from that of excitement and glee to one of sheer terror by the time he had hit the bottom. He had not counted on sliding so fast, because apparently the friction incurred by a “mattress-toboggan” is far less than the friction applied by a child’s belly when traversing backwards down a flight of stairs. Who’da thunk it?
As the dust began to settle, there was Phil sitting in the midst of the rubble, looking completely pathetic. Unsure whether he had somehow offended all of us by his actions, he couldn’t decide which face he should be wearing. Disheveled from head to toe with his eyeglasses sitting cockeyed on his face, he humbly looked to the children for guidance. They of course were still laughing, but in addition they now began hugging and holding onto their dear Uncle Phil, who had just become their hero.
There can be no doubt that the aftermath of that evening was indeed profound, at least from a parent’s perspective. Though funny and very entertaining, the positive effect that it ultimately had on our children cannot be overstated. Uncle Phil taught our kids a valuable lesson that night. It was one for which I will always be grateful. Our little ones saw firsthand that adults are essentially “little kids” trapped in an older body. Their outlook on the world changed that evening, because their appreciation for their elders did as well. We owe a great debt to Phil and Julie, because they showed our kids that we are all the same. When it was time to be serious, they always provided a fine example. However, when it was time to have fun, it was their fun-loving spirit that drew our children close.