Men climb Mount Everest because it is there. Kids climb everything else for the same reason, which explains the ladder my daughter found on the patio table by the carport and her son Eli perched upon the roof.
She posted on Facebook, “You know you better brace yourself when your teenager has put a ladder on a table near the roof.” She posted pictures of the ladder and her son grinning down at her. She included pictures of him walking around the roof viewing the neighborhood. She concluded with a video of him entering the house through the window of the upstairs bathroom.
Good thing he has long legs and arms because he had a long stretch from the window to the floor. He leaned into the room, placed one hand on the closed commode, the other on the counter and angled himself into the room, reaching his knee across the sill down the wall to the floor and then lifted his other leg into the room.
“Was that your best idea ever?” his mom asked in the video.
He answered a breathless, bemused, “yeah…er….no.”
A few days later she posted a new picture of him laying on the peak over their carport on the day he earned a 100 on a math test.
Then, suddenly, the roof escapades ended. “I had to put a kibosh on ladder-use for minors after the girls started climbing, too. They were up there acting like it’s a block party.” She posted a picture of sisters and brother perched above the carport before she stored the ladder permanently.
That boy’s mind ascends the heights. He keeps pulling and pushing to find his limit, including grabbing the metal bar installed above his bedroom door. Better that than the door frame. Those teen muscles need movement and stress to develop along with his imagination and insight.
Before his sister’s soccer game at a hidden field, he discovered an abandoned, towering brick building. He and some others had to check out the three floors. Vultures lived on the third floor.
A bunch of concerned adults told the kids they had to to come out, or exploration would have continued. We watched the game before meeting at a food shack with picnic tables. We all parked in front of the three billboards that outlined the shallow parking lot. As we waited for our number to be called, the adults sat. The kids explored the area behind the billboards. They found an abandoned railroad track. “Let’s go to the railroad track! Look! There is a homeless colony!”
Eli followed his sisters until he saw the ladder on the backside of the billboards. Soon, he called from behind the billboard, “Hey mom! I can go to the top. It’s safe.”
Give the lad a ladder and he will climb it - even if the end of the ladder hangs above the ground.
“No, you shouldn’t do that,” she said without looking.
He urged her, “Come. See the ladder.”
She went. I thought she kiboshed that idea until I saw Eli peering over the top of the billboard, casually leaning his arm on the top of the sign as he watched the traffic pass. He had found an access ladder that workers use to change the sign. Eli simply reached high and pulled himself to the first ledge, accessed the hidden ladder and began ascending places his sisters could not reach.
“One of the advantages of being tall,” his mom said and posted a picture of him smiling as he casually watched the traffic. Today a smile on the sign. Perhaps tomorrow a flag on top of Everest.
Joan Hershberger is a former staff writer for the El Dorado News-Times and author of “Twenty Gallons of Milk and other columns from the El Dorado News-Times.”