My Grandparent’s house was located in just about the most ideal place for a house to be… as far as a kid is concerned. It was on a street that dead ended into a railroad track. Across the street were some woods. The woods were separated from the street and house by a small creek. Most of the time the creek was mostly dry. It always had a little water… usually just enough to call it a creek and not a ditch. All kids need a creek and woods. These are magical places where dragons live, Indians lie in wait and ghosts whisper your name… and that’s just before lunch.
I have two uncles who are just a few years older than I. I’m pretty sure my uncles are slightly insane. Many of the things they did growing up normal people just don’t do. Of course it could have been the magic that inspired them.
One particular day after a particularly heavy rain the magic was strong and my uncles inspired. The creek was full and they had an old deep freeze. Somewhere, somehow they had come into possession of an old, discarded deep freeze. I don’t know if my uncles planned this great high seas adventure upon which they were soon to embark or if it was “Hey! Flood, freezer, fun!” I think it must have been the latter. I hope if they had taken time to think about the potential negative outcome they would have chosen the wiser option. But they didn’t and the deep freeze was, without rudder, paddle, life jacket or sense, duly commissioned into the 17th St navy and launched on her maiden voyage.
The journey began near the end of the block where Jackson St crossed over the creek. This was also the deepest, scariest part of the creek. I honestly don’t remember if both uncles got in or just one. If one, it would have been the youngest: he’s crazy. I do remember the “boat” was fairly unstable, there was much screaming from its crew and laughing and giggling from the spectators (my brothers and me). It wasn’t a long trip. I’m sure the Wright brother’s first flight at Kitty Hawk was longer.
Truth is, what we all did that day wasn’t magical or inspired. It was dangerous, reckless and just plain dumb. Anyone of us could have fallen in that water and been swept away. None of us thought about that. We saw excitement, adventure and some good ol’ fun. There’s a lot of “stuff” we may face in life, some of it undesired and undesirable. Much of it beyond our control: kids get cancer, spouses leave, jobs are lost. But there is “stuff” we can control. The decisions and choices we’re faced with as we get older change (I haven’t been tempted with putting a deep freeze in a flooded creek in a while) but they can literally be just as potentially dangerous. It comes down to this: James tells us if we lack wisdom God will give us wisdom… if we ask. So next time you’re sitting in a deep freeze and you’re brother is just about to launch you into a raging torrent…