A Close Call
It’s never a good idea to leave an eight year old unsupervised for very long. July, the sun was up early and so was I not wanting to waste a minute of my school holidays. After saying goodbye through the car window and my parents driving away my mind quickly dismissed the usual admonishment every parent tells their children “be good, stay out of trouble, and listen to your Grandfather.”
By mid morning rumbling snores announced my jailer was snoozing in his den. Upstairs in my room I found myself at loose ends after reading a few of my comic books, playing with my tin soldiers, and electric train. Casting my eyes about my bedroom they fell upon a birthday present my mother was still not happy about, a bow and arrows. Picking it up my mother’s words “Only under adult supervision.” Became a fading memory. After stringing my new bow and standing in front of a mirror taking a few test pulls I imagined myself as Robin Hood or William Tell. A plan came to mind for an escape route. Gathering my arrows and strapping on my quiver I tip toed to the top of the staircase silently sliding down the bannister to avoid the many creaking stairs that would harold my departure thus prohibiting my escape from adult supervision.
We lived with my Grandfather in his large house situated on the bank of the Assiniboine river in Winnipeg, Manitoba, which meant lots of trees throughout the property with a big open front yard.
Free to hunt whatever I wanted I honed my archery by almost hitting a couple of trees I was aiming at losing several of my precious metal tipped arrows in the process. Remembering a line from a poem I once read, “I shot an arrow into the air it came to rest I know not where”. I figured by shooting them into the air they wouldn’t land so far away and They would be easier to retrieve. With that, I placed my feet apart like Robin Hood aiming straight up, pulling back with all my might and letting loose. Holy mackerel, the arrow to went so high it flew out of sight. The sun in my eyes may have had something to do with it but I stood spellbound by my ability to shoot an arrow so high it disappeared.
What the heck? Thinking maybe the high up wind blew it away, it is never coming down, it’s been forever. Frozen to the spot I heard a swish, a thud, and suddenly there was my arrow about two inches from my right sneaker. I swallowed hard realizing it would have killed me if it hit my head. I promised myself to never shoot straight up again. That was a close call.
– Huntly Ketchen