Journey to Ukazoo
Slide 24: “Pipe & Peel”
Starting with the first evening’s stay at a Bed & Breakfast in Pipestone, Minnesota, myself and the other guests, when sitting outside, were treated to the faint sounds of hammering, sawing and the back and forth banter of four teenagers next door.
Tim and Tina, the next door neighbors and close friends of the innkeepers, whose house the sounds were originating from, stopped in yesterday for an during-breakfast coffee. Tim explained, it was his son, Tommy and his friends, Harry, David, and Virginia, who had been busy all week, working to put on a little neighborhood talent show in their backyard tomorrow and we, to our pleasant surprise, were all invited.
On Sunday, with a clear warm day in the making, we walked over for the show.
Harry, supplied the announcements and back up music/drum rolls with his one-guy bottle band.
Virginia, Tommy’s girlfriend and first act, performed some splendid magic tricks. Next was David, who did a juggling act using his mom’s spare set of dishes, of which he didn’t break a single dish. Okay, okay, they were plastic and he did drop two, but nonetheless he was still very impressive.
For the finale, Tommy, sporting a set of rollerblades, began his performance with several freestyle inline skating tricks. Next, he switched from a 72mm wheel he used for freestyle to a flatter surface 54mm wheel, modified, by him and his dad, with a slight indentation in each edge to barely shoulder a series of different diameter pipes. With the pipes set about 3 inches off the ground, he skated across each one effortlessly to rounds of applause.
During a 5 minute “set-up” intermission, Harry played a rather catchy rendition of the “Who’s” ”Tommy” on the bottles while David and Virginia raised the smallest diameter pipe up into the slots of two slender weighted down wood boxes placed off to the sides of the yard. The pipe was now four feet above the ground.
Then as Harry started a drum roll on the bottles, Tommy climbed a step ladder to the elevated pipe. Quiet spread across the yard and at Harry’s last bottle tap, Tommy started across the stationary 10’ length of pipe.
He did it!
Without hesitating at the applause, Tommy turned to face the opposite direction while David quickly walked over to drape a banana peel towards the far end of the pipe.
If we thought it was quiet before, this ensuing silence was unnerving. His parents, with teetering confidence at never seeing him attempt anything like this, clenched the arms of their chairs.
The drum roll started again and as before, at the last tap from Harry, Tommy started to skate across the pipe. As he approached the banana peel, all sense of time and place was reduced to slow motion. His balance impeccable, his eyes focused, calculating the distance and exact moment to slightly bend the knee to gain just enough push and lift.
I took this picture as he was within several inches of the peel. In the next extended second, with the sudden intake of the crowds collected breath, he elevated, only a few inches, but enough to clear the raised end of the peel. Once over, he touched down onto the pipe with a graceful elegance that brought everyone to their feet cheering.
Once on the ground and the congratulations to Tommy and his friends tapering off, he eased over to the food and drinks and there awaiting him was the banana, minus its skin, ready to be sliced and added to three scoops of ice cream for his favorite treat, a banana split.
All images and text are copyright Craig L Haupt
Postings of “Journey to Ukazoo” Slides are every Monday Evening.