Jul. 4, 2010 2:59 pm
Updated: Jul. 5, 2010 6:48 am
Hey everybody, it's the 4th of July! I live in DC, so it's kinda hard not to celebrate. We've got parades and barbeques as far as the eye can see, not to mention our extraordinary fireworks on the National Mall. It's been a tradition for years in my family
to climb up on the roof (much to my discontent, as I am afraid of heights) at night and watch the fireworks. Needless to say, standing on one's rooftop is bound to produce a crazy scenario at some point.
When I was 7 or 8, my mom was working the night shift at her office and couldn't join us. Unfortunately, I suffer a clumsiness inherited from my father's side of the family. On our way up to the roof, I was the last to use the ladder. My knees shook with fear
as I caught a glimpse of the hallway below. I had not yet hit my tweenage growth spurt and the distance between me and the ground seemed much bigger back then. As my grateful feet struck ground - shingle - I nudged the ladder out of place. "Umm... Dad?" I
tried to warn him. "Come on, sweety, you're going to miss the show!" Was his only reply. When the display was over and it was time to go back, a storm was gathering in the distance. Lightning flashed at random intervals, and rolling thunderclouds foreshadowed
a heavy rain. We opened up the ceiling fixture again and just as my brother rested his weight on the ladder, he gasped and drew back. It had fallen in, leaving us stranded on the roof.
It took about an hour to flag down a willing pedestrian, and all the while I was hyperventilating quite profusely. What could be worse for a small child, after all, than heights, thunderstorms, being trapped somewhere without a restroom, or all three? Our neighborhood
is a high traffic area, thank God, but the first few people we called out to hurried by looking very disturbed. At last a nice young man agreed to help, and my dad threw down his house keys to unlock the front door. This was a huge gamble on our part, because
this guy could have easily taken a few possessions and run off. But being a true gentleman, he replaced the ladder and wished us a happy holiday on his way out. If I ever find this man again, I've decided I will bake him a plate of cookies. Or maybe a pie.
In any case, I do hope yours if a safe and happy holiday. Enjoy!