Sliding Down The Bannister of Life: A Story
See that bannister? That long, sloping bannister that just begs for a good slide?
Come on, admit it.
You see a picture of a fine, hand-carved bannister and you immediately think of at least that one time when you threw caution to the wind (and took a chance on getting grounded) to slide from the top all the way to the bottom. You were scared to death that you would fall off, landing hard on the floor on one side (bad) or on the steps on the other side (even worse).
If you were alone in the house, you did the bannister slide with a gigantic “whoop!” that scared away any pets who might have been watching your antics. Later, when you were much older and way cooler, you slid down the bannister to impress your friends. Still later, you slid down the bannister just to prove to yourself that you could still do it.
And as an adult, you warily eyed said bannister and wondered how your rear was ever small enough to slide down that thing.
My childhood home had a long yet simple wooden bannister, one that was hand-crafted by my grandfather. It started under a low ceiling, so getting up to speed on it was difficult.
My favorite bannister of all time was at my best friend’s house. Jenny’s bannister started under a vaulted ceiling, so there was plenty of space to get up a good speed. It was also a bit curvy, so little tricks could be mastered, like the one where we went flying off the bannister a full eight feet above the bottom step and struck the landing like an Olympic gymnast.
Once Jenny fell off the bannister halfway down. I wasn’t there, but I heard all about it the next day, when she showed up at school sporting a cool blue cast that we all got to sign.
But the draw of the bannister was impossible to deny. As soon as the cast was off, she and I were devising new tricks and sliding down the bannister again, this time testing our speed with stopwatches.
I don’t have a bannister in my home today, and it’s probably a good thing, because my kid-at-heart looks at any bannister with a thrill of adventure. I even have to be careful about the urge to slide down the bannister at the mall. I would make a spectacle of myself and probably get thrown out by security, but the twelve-year-old in me thinks it just might be worth it.