Genealogy and ballistics

My wife has developed a keen interest in family history. She has been telling me things about my family, parts of which she has so far traced back to the early 17th century, that I had not known previously.
For example, the reason that I am here today is not because my ancestors were big heroes during the Revolutionary War, but because they were good at running away.
There was a father and two sons. The father was arrested by British military, escaped and built a new house somewhere else because after he ran away they burned down his old house.
The older of the two sons, he was in his twenties, also ran away when he and his 17 year old brother were arrested. He later built a house on the site of the one that had been burned down.
His younger brother does not seem to have escaped, and his branch of the family tree appears to end there.
So basically, I am here because of running.
My uncle, a direct descendant of those guys, was athletic all his life. When we played softball in the field between our houses, he was pretty good. As was his sister. My sister too.
My uncle had a good throwing arm.
For example: Once he was up on a ladder picking pears in the field, and I was down on the ground pestering him. I was a little kid. I don’t remember what I was doing, probably throwing pears up at him, because when he got tired of it he gave me a head start and I dashed across the field to my house.
It was about ten miles, IIRC. Incredibly far, at any rate, for a little kid. Maybe fifty meters. Maybe less. I ran and ran and ran. I started to laugh when I reached the edge of the field, figuring I was safe so far from my uncle up on his ladder.
But in the instant before I ducked under the electric fence to run through the trees into my house, a big rotten pear hit me in the small of the back. It was a perfect shot. It got me right where my pants met my t-shirt. The pear had the right consistency – rotten yet firm enough to survive such a long throw at a velocity so great that half went down my buttcrack, and the other half went up my back all the way to my shoulder blades.
I ran crying to my mother, out of shock more than pain.
My uncle showed up seconds later, explaining and laughing at the same time.
My mother laughed too.
Everybody laughed but me.

Careers in science: soteriology

The soteriologist goes into the playroom to gaze upon the back yard, which looks so different now that a guy came and pruned a bunch of stuff and removed some bushes, everything had been so crowded. He notices his 13 year-old daughter. She is wearing her black tutu skirt, black net stockings, a black hoodie, and shoes of some sort. She is truckin’ up the cellar stairs with her bicycle, a pack in the basket.

Running away, in other words.

The sight fills him with a surprising joy.

God bless you, child, he thinks. Run as fast as you can.

It will be raining soon, so he cuts her off at the pass and says wait, let me get you a warmer coat. They get a coat sorted out, and he puts on shoes and a windbreaker and goes with her.

I’m running away, you can’t come along, she says.

Just part of the way, he says. She rides off and he jogs alongside, making conversation. The conversation quickly advances to talk of heart attacks and he asks her to stop and walk for a while, and to his surprise she does.

The soteriologist and the girl walk along the creek. Now and then a rain drop hits them, but it’s not really raining yet, just toying with the idea.

It’s such a beautiful Sunday afternoon.

The soteriologist expresses his shame at his mishandling of a situation involving preparation for school, confiscation of a mobile phone, verbal and physical bullying and general nastiness and disrespect.

The soteriologist mentions how beautiful it is. He says it reminds him of where he grew up. He would have liked to run away then, but there was nowhere to go. Everything was far away.

It gets better, he says.

He speaks of various things. He explains his cosmology and how she and her sister and mother are at the very center of it.

He explains why he is ashamed. It involves expectations of wisdom he failed to meet.

He says he would like to run away sometimes. It would be nice to have a cabin on a lake you could run away to at times like this. He says, what about your house in the back yard?

She says, it’s wet inside.

He says he’ll look into that.

He says, on the one hand it gets better, thirteen is hard. On the other hand, it never gets easy. You’re never done. As soon as you get used to one level, you’re on a different level figuring that out. Level, stage, whatever.

Learn to talk, and they potty train you. Then you have to get used to school. Then adulthood. Then your hearing goes, or your vision. Then your joints. Then your mind, or something.

But it’s not all bad.

Look how the light reflects on the creek.

I’m running away, she says, you’re not supposed to be so nice.

She says she’s just running away to a friend’s house, he can come pick her up in an hour.

He suggests stopping for a cocoa at McDonalds. It is cold out, after all. Then they can go home again.

He doesn’t want her to have the feeling she lost this round, whatever else happens, he decides.

She thinks about the cocoa. They stop under a bridge to talk because it’s getting windy and the rain is picking up. Not so much that she can feel it yet, because she is wearing a warm hat, but his hair is thin, or short, or both, and he can feel the drops hitting his scalp.

There under the bridge, they talk about falling into the water from rowboats. He did it right about where they are standing. She did it in the Czech Republic.

He turns and walks home about then. For two hundred meters, he doesn’t look back. If she follows him, it’ll be her decision. If she runs away to her friend’s house, it’ll be her decision too.

He prays to Life for everything to work out okay. Sometimes you have to park your helicopter and pray to Life instead.

After two hundred meters he looks back and she is gone.

A minute after he gets back home, he is still taking off his shoes, her friend’s mom arrives with her and her bike in the back of the truck.

He builds a fire and they have cocoa. He gives her back her mobile phone. She says, if he had waited two more seconds under the bridge, she would have come home with him.