This weekend, I’ll be heading to my dad’s lake cabin for the weekend. I spent many weekends of my childhood in this little cabin, which also hosted grandparents, uncles, aunts, and a gaggle of young cousins.
One fine summer weekend, I was reading on a couch, facing a bank of windows that faced the side of neighbor’s cabin and the lake. Between our cabins and the lake was a large stone retaining wall, which supported a four-foot vertical drop between our green lawn and the sandy beach below.
Behind our cabin, meaning the side away from the lake, several of my uncles were gathered around one uncle’s new motorbike. They were trying to teach Uncle Drew how to ride the motorbike. From inside the cabin, all I could hear were muffled explanations, and the occasional failed attempt to start the engine.
“Bbbrrr. … Bbbrrr,” said the bike occasionally, as the engine would fire up briefly, then die.
This went on for some time. I continued reading my book. My dad sat down next to me at some point. We listened idly to the conversation outside and to the calm lapping of the waves upon the beach. It was one of those sunny, hot, summer days that are marked by the sound of cicadas in movies. The air was lazy.
Suddenly, the bike barked to life.
I looked up just in time.
Just as my eyes landed on the window across from me, I saw the head of my Uncle Drew, face distorted in abject terror, streak past the window. His hands were clenched on the handles of the motorbike as it propelled him at alarming speed between the two cabins.
A moment later, his bike hit the top of the retaining wall. My dad and I watched as the bike and Drew rose into the air… soared into the blue sky… and dropped in an elegant parabolic arc right into the lake.
Drew survived without a scratch. As I never saw the motorbike again after that weekend, I don’t think it fared so well.
I was about nine years old. At the time, I was pretty sure it was the funniest thing I’d ever seen.
Quick, tell me your favorite summer hijinks story.