David, my own
brother, had performed the famous cherry-bomb dive, a real crowd pleaser. He
jumped from the tree, whistling through his teeth on the way down, then he
grabbed his knee and hugged it up to his chest just before he hit the water.
Twweeeeeee ker-BOOM! Water shot high into the air. It was majestic and
competition, however, was from my old friend and companion, Joe Staddford, a
diminutive, but extremely fast, second baseman on the Little League team. Joe's
number was called the
cow-pasture-sprint-leap-over-the-barbed-wire-fence-head-first-special. Truly a
magnificent expression of adolescent creativity, coupled with raw nerve and
just a dash of sheer idiocy. The kid was fast. He backed off out through the
pasture of the Circle L Ranch and, after a deep breath, began the sprint.
Dodging rocks, stickers, stumps and fresh cow piles, he approached the fence
and dived through the barbed wire with reckless abandon. He then crashed
through the thick bushes at the water's edge and tumbled into the water.
I knew that it
would be almost impossible to top that number. In order to win the diving
prize, a sack of Hershey bars and two Snickers, I'd have to come up with a real
showstopper. I had been standing there almost 20 minutes. The sun was setting
and the white-faced Herefords were moving slowly toward the pasture gate.
is it," I yelled again. "You ready, Billy Joe? You ready to
sure," he screamed. "Now go, will ya."
I looked once
again at the water. It was like concrete if you landed just wrong. I
I began the
It was my moment in time. In all of Sebastian County and the universe, I was on
center stage. I forced my head forward, anticipating the proper momentum. I
knew I'd have to get the flip over with as quickly as possible so as to
concentrate on the Snicker that would come at me like a chocolate meteor.