Fuddler on the Roof

Posted on April 11, 2015 under Storytelling with no comments yet

imagejpeg_2 (5)

Enjoying a light dusting of snow

“Right smack dab in the middle of town, I’ve found a paradise that’s trouble proof (up on the roof)”

Up On the Roof – The Drifters

I have an aversion to heights.  No, let me rephrase that.  I have a fear of heights and I am definitely not what one would call a thrill seeker.  So, just what would possess me to risk life and limb by climbing onto the roof of our house?

It was a beautiful spring day in 1986 in Los Angeles, California, when my fear of heights reared its ugly head for the first time.  I was soaking up the rays in Chavez Ravine.  Lest you think that this is some trendy spa on the Pacific Coast, Chavez Ravine is the home stadium for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team and I was there with a friend to catch a spring training game.

Coming from harsh winter climes, getting a good seat wasn’t a big priority.  There are cheap seats and there are nosebleed seats.  Our seats were closer to San Diego than they were to L.A.  It was a splendid day for baseball.  A warm breeze blew and cold beer flowed.  Two promising pitchers were in the lineup for the Dodgers: Orel Hershiser and Fernando Valenzuela.  They would later become household names.

Part way through the game (and our second beer!), we spotted empty seats much closer to the diamond and, seeing no security guards, we ambled down to take our perch.  The seats were in the first row of the third balcony.  As we approached our new location, I took one look over the balcony and was struck with inexplicable fear.  I beat a hasty retreat.

That fear of heights remains with me to this day.

For the past 30 years I have avoided heights.  I was a chaperone on a school trip years ago and could not muster the courage to go up in the C.N. Tower.   I would never consider going on a roller coaster and I have to be mildly sedated to accompany a grandchild on the Ferris wheel.  You get the picture.

I don’t mind going up on a stepladder to do small household repairs, but forget about scraping the eaves of the house atop an extension ladder.

Our house is for sale and until the lawyer places a cheque in our hands, the house is still our responsibility.  We have had a fair bit of snow this year, in case you might have missed it while hibernating in a cave.  So much snow that we had some concerns about the volume of the white stuff on our roof.  With an offer to purchase our house on the table, we didn`t want to take any risks of the deal (or our roof!) falling through.

Speaking of caves. My wife is a tax preparer and has been seen as infrequently as Shubenacadie Sam lately.  She is usually the high wire act when it comes to household chores.  So, with heavy rain in the forecast and about four feet of snow and ice drifted into one corner of the roof, I knew that I must act.  I hauled out the step ladder, plunked it into a snowbank and scrambled onto the shingles.

It was a brilliant morning and after a half an hour, the coat and hat came off along with the first few layers of snow.  I had absolutely no fear of falling.  My brother happened along and he pitched in with some much needed snow removal around the basement windows and oil tank.

By the time I finished, I had worked up a sweat and a hearty appetite.  I decided to treat my brother to lunch.  Before climbing down, I asked him to take a photo of the conquering warrior on the roof.  Then a childhood memory flashed before me.  The pile of snow just below the gutters of the house had grown exponentially.  “Why not jump off?” I thought to myself.  There was zero percent chance of harm and it would make me feel like a kid again.

I asked my brother to take a picture of me “in flight”.   He did one better.  He grabbed his cell phone and put it on video mode.

Every so often you see a video on YouTube and you wonder about the sheer ineptness of people who have inherited the “clumsy gene”.  My “fall from grace” took all of three seconds.  With arms raised to the heavens, I did a small bunny hop … and hooked the toe of my boot in the gutter.  Before you could say “arse over kettle” I was hurtling down the snowbank on my belly.

It was a classic face plant.  I would love to report that I landed in soft powder but most of it was the very snow (and ice) that I had just removed from the roof.  Carpet burn – on the rocks.

Our kids are scattered from coast to coast.  We usually don’t hear from all of them on a single day unless it is Christmas.  Well, as soon as I uploaded the video the phone started ringing.  They were convulsed with laughter.  I couldn’t understand a word they said.

Glad I could entertain.  You gave us a few chuckles too.  Too bad there were no mobile phones back in the day.  I’ll just have to write some stories.

Enjoy this? Visit the rest of my website to enjoy more of my work or buy my books!
Highland Hearing Clinic

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.