The reason the boys were ready for me when I pulled up in the big van was what they held in their hands.
“We found these!” Saber unfolded his palm to show me a rubber ball on an elastic band.
I’ve seen plenty of rubber balls. I began a jaded smile and then he threw the ball down. It bounced high over the building roof with the elastic band unfurling to let it kiss the clouds before rebounding and bouncing again. This little contraption had more energy than a litter of hungry puppies when mama pokes her head into their view.
The boys had finished a week at church camp and I was bringing home a gaggle of eleven-year-olds. Well, if a gaggle was seven, I was bringing a gaggle.
Each of the boys launched a ball above timberline blended with giggles. Boys really can giggle.
I’m a mother. I could see the potential here.
“OK, guys. No bouncing the balls in the van.”
They all nodded and their arms went into hyper drive to get bounces done before they loaded.
Finally we pulled away from camp and made our way down the mountain. All was well until I pulled up at a stop light in town.
Traffic was heavy and I had been watching cars surround us. Then I noticed giggling from behind.
Saber waggled his arm out of the side window. His ball ricocheted off car roofs and zig-zagged between lanes. The elastic band kept the ball in sight but not mannerly.
It took him a minute to retrieve the ball after his driver threatened to dunk him in the lake if he didn’t get the contraption back inside. The strap was pretty easy-going and not easy to gather. Maybe a little like Saber.
Then he rolled up the gadget and stuffed it in his backpack, giving me a smile fit more for angels than gaggles of boys. “I didn’t bounce it in the van,” he said.
No, but he had run the risk of kissing the clouds.