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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Boomeranging




    I went boomeranging with some of the kids again today. We own three acres out back of nothing but weeds. The weeds are in their short grassy stage now and so it is a perfect place for boomeranging. Throwing boomerangs is fun enough by itself, but I have added some extra sugar by offering my kids  a small sum of money for each catch they make. This would be a perfect way to go broke for someone of small means like myself except that boomerangs are hard to catch—at least the boomerangs I throw are. I have seven different models of boomerangs and each has a unique flight path and difficulty level. Some can be gone nearly 15 seconds before (if) they return.

    Tonight when we arrived in the field we found out quickly that the sun was directly behind the returning boomerangs. I threw one that came back to me perfectly. I saw a glimpse of the  'rang as it spun in on a perfect trajectory for my face just before the sun swallowed it. I held out my hand in front of my face and reflexively closed my fingers around it as it smacked my palm. Talk about a lucky catch.

    We decided to throw the flying ring for awhile to give the sun a chance to move a little. This was a lot of fun except for the frustration level the youngest two children added to it. Little Glory and Story are excellent for retrieving errant throws and they do it without slobbering. However they like to retrieve on their own terms. Four-year-old Story will run full speed after the ring and then stop ten feet from it. While we all wait impatiently suddenly he does the Frankenstein walk and approaches with maddening slowness. Finally he squats down and pounces on the ring. When he finally picks it up he naturally looks at the person the farthest distance away who he has no possibility of reaching with his throw.

    “Throw it to me,” I yell since I am closest.

    He ignores me.

    “Story! Throw it to me!”

    He turns toward me grinning. “You get a dollar if you catch it,” he says. He looks at me and launches the ring, but it flies off at a right angle to both of us where no one is standing. “Whoa,” he laughs and trots after it. I trot after it too and we grab it at the same time.

    “Let me have it, “ I day in all seriousness. He won't let go and we start a tug-o-war. I am 250 pounds. He is 30 pounds. I can't use my weight to my advantage without hurting him and so this is a very difficult task to get the ring. I finally win when I tickle him. With the ring in my hand I feel like a starving man who had to wrestle with someone for the next bite of food. I feel horribly impatient, but luckily he thought it was all great fun.
    After twenty minutes or so we decide to try the boomerangs again. We start off with the Aspen. This is because it is relatively light which makes it easier to throw and not as scary to catch. I can sometimes throw the Aspen perfectly enough to catch it without moving. But often enough it lands in front of me or behind me and Jory and Lory chase back and forth trying to be in the right spot to catch it. Jory tends to judge more accurately and gets some skin on several without being able to catch it. He knows enough to respect the boomerang when it is coming too fast. The other night the Yanaki hit in the stomach and knocked him down. He came up gasping for breath. I thought he was overplaying it until he pulled up his shirt and I saw the red welt across his stomach. Ouch.

    After a good twenty throws he has managed to nab a couple out of the air with panache. Lory has considerably more trouble, but finally she reaches up and gets her fingers around the spinning wings. The look on her face was pure joy. She screams and hops up and down while spinning around. She runs to me and throws her arms around me. It is a sweet moment.

    After a while we switch to the Erang. This is a bigger boomerang that flies much farther and usually comes in much faster. Both kids are wary of this rang and back off on many catchable landings. After more throws they get a little braver and are rewarded with a cut and a bruise, but no catches. On one throw the Erang came in so low that Story, who was sitting on the ground next to the gear had to flatten himself out. The Erang whizzed by a couple of feet over him. I'm glad he is paying attention. I am offering $3.00 for an Erang catch so they try a little hard. Finally something clicks in nine-year-old Jory's head and he snatches the Erang out of the air. I heard the thud of wood against bone, but he shrugged it off. Then he catches it again. And then again. Seeing bankruptcy on the horizon I cut him off from the promise of more money for more catches. Jory is satisfied though. He has just powered up in skills and ability. It is probably five more throws until Autumn pulls in the Erang. She squeals and dances another victory dance and gives me another hug.
    The sun is touching the western mountain tops now. The red cliffs in the East are glowing bright. Someone's dog is barking insanely somewhere toward the middle of town. The scent of burning weeds tickles our nostirls. We are hungry and happy as we gather our gear up and head back to the house. Even then we spread out and toss the flying ring back and forth as we go.

1 comment:

TS Anderson said...

Oh, the memories! When can Beth and I catch up for some 'ranging?