Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Great Wheelchair Balancing Act

I referenced The Great Wheelchair Balancing Act Games of 2008 in a previous blog and I thought that, perhaps, I should add some pictures. It should be noted that while I, myself, had success at balancing on the back wheels of the wheelchair, my head is too round or I am balanced challenged and could not keep anything stacked on my skull. My brother and cousin Kyle had much more success.

Here we have my cousin Kyle, back on two wheels and
balancing a baggie of trail mix, a tin full of candy, an upside down cup, and a water bottle on his head. My brother is the dork in the background and Kyle's girlfriend, Brynn, is behind him. My brother humorously insisted that, in order to find a measure of success with this task, your chi must be in balance. As you can see, Kyle has no problem with his Chi.

Below is a picture of my brother, and I promise he had not been drinking at Grandma's funeral even though the look on his face suggests otherwise, back on two wheels with the same items balanced on his head that Kyle had, plus some sort of empty tub. My grandpa is in the background looking on. Isn't he so cute for an 81 year old?

Finally, pictured above, is my brother with the tin and baby toy rings stacked on his noggin. We decided that Grandma needed to join in the festivities and no one was too sure they wanted to hold the urn on their lap so her picture had to suffice.

We had some close calls where the balancer nearly tipped over backward and had to be caught by an innocent bystander (usually my great aunt who might weigh 88 pounds, if she stepped on a scale just after Thanksgiving dinner). And in the moments that a competitor fell backward or darted forward, I could just about hear my Grandma burst out with her laugh and say something like, "Oh gosh, careful, Jon." If she had known we'd included her picture she would have rolled those big dark eyes and unsuccessfully hidden a smile.

She sure got herself some interesting characters for grandchildren. And if the only legacy we leave is dominating at balancing in the wheelchair she needed during the end of her life and some silly blog her oldest granddaughter authors, well, I still think she'll be proud.

It should also be noted that, at Grandma's service, the worst ever version of When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder was played. It sounded as though it was recorded in 1950 and was meant as a line dance, not a dirge. I was laughing so uncontrollably hard that all I could do was attempt to not actually cackle. This made the rest of my cousins start laughing and I am sure that, from the back, it looked at though we were a row of sobbing grandchildren as our shoulders quivered and shook. Smack in the middle of it, the singer shouted out, "All together now!" and was joined by a chorus. When that happened I literally had to cover my mouth because loud guffaws were about to escape. Finally, toward the end, he rang something to the effect of, "Ready for the big finish." (I'm not sure that was it, but you get the idea). It was so bad that I know my grandma would have died laughing. You know, if that hadn't been why we were there in the first place. So, all at once, I wasn't a pastor's wife. I wasn't 26. I was actually five years old and my grandma was doing something to make me laugh hysterically. I'm glad that the last thing I did at her funeral was laugh uncontrollably. It was ever so fitting.


  1. Ever seen the old Mary Tyler Moore Show? She gets the uncontrolable giggles at the funeral of Chuckles the Clown...classic moment.

    Glad you found laughter as well.

  2. i love those kinds of laughs where you can do NOTHING to stop them. thanks for sharing allowing me to laugh too.

  3. Ah, yes, young Grasshopper. You must balance your chi. "All together now!" Classic. I realized that afternoon just how weird our family really is.

  4. Ha - I laughed all over again just reading this. I love Jon's facial expressions...they are awesome. Who would know that an entire room full of people could be entertained for literally hours by a wheelchair and a few small items? Perhaps next time Brynn can try out that Mag-lite...

  5. I have to say that reading your blog gave me the best laugh I've had in years! And Jon's right, our family IS weird! And Grandma would have loved it. Do you wonder what the heck people thought during that song? Did they think we actually thought it was appropriate? I'm pretty sure that it went on for at least twenty minutes, 'cuz that's about how long it seemed like I was trying not to laugh. Ah, Grandma would have had a good laugh over that one! All together now!!!!

  6. Seriously, someone needs to tell that mortuary that that rendition of "When the Roll is Called Up Yonder" is just beyond weird! Any volunteers? The whole time the "cousins" were doing the wheel-chair-stack competition I was thinking that mom would have laughed hysterically. Especially when Jon put her in his lap.