Always an adventure at the Hart house
It's been a hectic week. And to wake up yesterday morning, the day after my dad's memorial service, the only thing I can write about this week is my father because that's all that's on my mind. There's been so much said about my dad but I thought it won't hurt to write a bit more.
Here's a story that got left on the cutting room floor, so to speak, when I did my eulogy.
It was one of those nights that my mom and dad went out and left my two older sisters, Ellie, 12, and Georgia, 11, in charge. They had instructions to make sure the "little ones" got to bed on time. I was about 10 at the time and, as far as I was concerned, I didn't take orders from either of them.
Well, on this night I beat Ross handily in a table hockey game and he didn't take losing very well. I soon got into it with him and Ellie and Georgia came in to break up the tussle, and ended up becoming part of a ring-a-ding-dong-dandy, Hart-kid style.
Well, I wasn't having any of it. I quickly showed them who was boss and left them all crying. I went down to the kitchen to watch Hockey Night In Canada. Something told me it was too quiet upstairs. It became apparent to me that they were getting ready for another charge. I braced myself.
But by the end of the second period I couldn't stop thinking that one of those ice cream bars my dad kept in the freezer on the back porch would go down real nice in the third period.
I was only 10 or 15 ft. away but it was freezing cold outside and if I wasn't careful I could find myself getting locked out. It seemed like the whole clan upstairs was pretty riled up -- but how long could it take just to grab a Revel?
I made my big move, slipped out onto the porch and over to the freezer in my socks, grabbed an ice-cream bar and turned just in time to see Ellie, Georgia and Ross dead-bolt the kitchen door.
The girls laughed with glee, while Ross threw a triumphant fist in the air.
There were lots of doors and I sprinted over to the closest one. They scrambled there before me and -- click -- it was locked.
I ran as fast as I could to the next door ... and the next ... and the next ... until finally there were no more doors to try. To them, it was sweet revenge but what they weren't fully getting is it was 30-below and I was wearing only socks, jeans and a T-shirt.
I looked at the house, studying all the windows for a way in when I noticed the door on the top-floor balcony, outside my mother's office. I scaled a rickety scaffold and some splitting fascia, teeth chattering with my frozen socks sliding all over the place. It didn't even occur to me how dangerous it was because I was so satisfied at having found a way to outsmart Ellie, Georgia and Ross.
I snuck inside and hid under the desk in my mother's office for about 20 minutes, rubbing my numb feet. My sisters were feeling pretty proud of themselves but, after a while, their laughter turned to concern.
They opened the doors and called out to me -- but, of course, I didn't answer. I was plotting my comeback!
I did something that makes sense only to a 10-year-old boy: I made a running charge and jumped up onto a huge crystal chandelier, swinging down on Ellie, Georgia and Ross like Tarzan. I left them like a weasel fleeing a hen house, all of them crying and Ellie wagging her finger, "Just you wait until mom and dad get home and we tell them how bad you've been! You're in big trouble, Bret!"
I tried not to sell it. But when I finally did go to bed that night I knew I was in big trouble.
It turned out my parents got back very late and, buried under the blankets, I cringed as I heard my sisters rat me out. I can still hear my mom say: "Stu, what are you going to do?"
I heard my dad's heavy footsteps creak up the stairs. I made believe I was asleep but peeked through squinted eyes. His big silhouette hovered as he pointed his finger at me, but he simply said, "Buster, don't let it happen again."
He turned and walked out. I could hear the girls protesting as he shuffled them off to bed.
This was routine for me.
For hours on end my dad would tell one amusing story after another -- sometimes for so long that my mom would intervene and drag him off.
My son Blade is calling me and I can't help but feel history repeating itself ... See ya next week.
on Stu Hart
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