NORMAN — Some hobbies provide unusual experiences. Human storytelling enlarges them more.
Ward and his fiancee wish to be married skydiving.
Megan and Ward open the airplane hatch to get ready. Ward’s friend, the minister for their ceremony, now sees how far he is from the ground and begins to sweat.
Megan and Ward jump. The preacher closes his eyes and follows, but his parachute accidentally opens. Worried, he grabs the straps. His papers go floating away.
Ward lip syncs, “What now?”
“I’m OK,” the minister shouts. “Here goes the ceremony ... Mumble, mumble, mumble, do you, Megan, take Ward to be your husband?”
Confused, Megan pulls the ‘chute cord sooner. “Yes!” she shouts, wobbling in the air.
“Ward, how about you?” the preacher shouts.
Megan and Ward embrace while floating slowly downward.
“What did all that ‘mumble’ stuff mean?” Ward says to his friend later.
“I lost my notes. But I said all the words plainly in my heart.”
Some try spelunking.
“Lillian insisted we try the cave thing,” Mat tells his work buddy, “but it wasn’t for us.”
“Well, it turns out I’m allergic to things that live in caves.”
“You mean bats?”
“I mean bats, bears or robbers or anything else that flies, walks or crawls.”
“You’re afraid, then.”
“I prefer ‘allergic.’”
Others relax by hiking and mountain climbing. Mary and Dave love gazing down into a valley from a mountaintop.
Mary hesitates sometimes.
“I’m afraid these rocks are a little loose.”
She backs away from the ledge.
“Don’t be chicken,” Dave teases. He continues to point out scenes below.
In the gathering darkness, a large figure appears on the trail.
“Bear!” Mary screams.
Dave recovers nicely from his fall off the cliff. His dignity is left intact by the claim he saved Mary from a bear. They’ll never know the “bear” was a game warden coming to tell them the park was closing.
One day Jason, who adores fishing, decides to take his kids. His wife frowns.
“Don’t go messing up your hobby,” she tells him. “Wait until they’re older.”
“I know what I’m doing,” Jason says. “They’ll love fishing.” His son seems excited, his daughter pouts.
They arrive at the arena and his daughter holds her nose.
“What’s that horrible smell?”
“You’ll get used to it,” her Dad says.
“I’m staying in the car,” she announces loudly.
His son leaps from the car and runs over to the fish tank. He leans over too far and falls in. His sister screams: “You’ve drowned my brother!”
Jason rescues his son. “Don’t cry, you’re OK,” he whispers. “Come on, I’ll get you a fishing pole.”
“I want to go home,” his son bellows so loud, every person around the tank turns toward Jason.
“OK, then, hamburgers?”
His son stops bellowing.
“Where the clown is?” he says.
Jason consoles both of them with the clown. He sighs.
“I can see fishing will have to wait.” No answer.
Now why does that image of his wife keep appearing?
Shirley Ramsey, a retired professor of journalism, lives in Norman.