Elmo Lives Dangerously

13 May

LIFE ON THE FAMILY FARM UNDER AN OPEN HEAVEN

By:  Tom Heck

Elmo Lives Dangerously

                Years ago, when we would fill out applications for medical insurance, the insurance agent would always ask us a lot of questions.  One of the questions was: did anybody in our household do bull riding  or parachute jumping.  If I would have answered, “Yes” to that, the cost of the insurance would have gone up substantially.   I would always answer, “No” to it, but the four of us here would always be grinning when I did so.  While none of the four of us did those two things, we did have somebody in our household that did do parachute jumping.

Joshua, our son, was born weighing just one pound and ten ounces.  The doctors did not expect him to live.  But we prayed and God answered our prayers.  He lived and is a strong healthy young man today.  Joshua, after he was born, had to spend the first four months of his life in the neonatal ward of the hospital.  While there, one of the nurses gave him a little Elmo to snuggle up to.  Elmo is only seven inches tall, but he was nearly the same size as Joshua was back then.

Well, when Joshua came home from the hospital, Elmo came with him.  As Joshua grew, we gave him and Elmo their own bedroom upstairs in our house.  Kids will be kids, and kids love to play.  Catherine and Joshua, all on their own, took a plastic, grocery shopping bag and rigged it up to Elmo for a parachute.  Then they took and dropped him from the top of the stairs and let him parachute down.  He floated down just beautifully.  Joanne and I were really impressed at what they had done all on their own.

After seeing them do this a number of times, I came up with a brilliant idea.  I said, “You need to drop Elmo from higher up.”  Well, they liked what I said, but didn’t know how to get him any higher up.  Then I suggested, “How about dropping him from the top of our silos.”  Their eyes got way big and the amazement on their faces was indescribable.  “Do you think it will work, and will Elmo be O.K.?” they asked.  I replied, “I don’t see why it won’t work as long as it isn’t too windy out.”  Well, with that answer, they eagerly awaited the next time I had to climb to the top of one of our sixty-foot silos.  It’s wonderful when parents and children can play together and have lots of fun.

When it’s time to fill a silo, I have to climb the ladder on the outside of the silo to raise the unloader, and then once the silo is full I have to climb it again to lower the unloader.  Well, Elmo started going up the silo with me.  Once on top, I would let him go and he would parachute gently down.  It was fun and very interesting.

But, I was hesitant to do it on real windy days.  What if Elmo landed on top of the barn roof or on one of the shed roofs or got tangled up halfway down on another silo or something else?  The kids always insisted that Elmo wanted to take the risk and do it.  I would remind the kids that he didn’t have any health insurance since I couldn’t afford to pay the high premiums on him because of the way he was living!  With that they would get great big smiles on their faces and burst out laughing and insist that Elmo wanted to jump again regardless of the risk!

So I would always consent to take him up with me for another jump.  We all greatly enjoyed it.  When it was really windy out, sometimes Elmo would end up over 100 feet away from the silo.  One time he did end up on the barn roof and stuck there for a minute and then gently slid down.  Another time he flew over the barn roof and landed on the feeder wagon on the barnyard.  The kids quickly rescued him before a cow could start to eat him!

I always tell the kids that Elmo’s parachuting is a high risk business and that’s why insurance agents even inquire about it.  But, the kids always tell me that Elmo wants to keep doing it.  And I must say we have a lot of fun doing it.  Sometimes on a hard work day, it’s the highlight of the day.  It’s always good to mix a little fun in with the hard work.

Now, Elmo is special here, since Joshua got him when he was a way small baby and we do try to take good care of him.  But, Elmo is a stuffed toy.  What are far more precious than stuffed toys are children.  We need to take good care of them and bless them.  We need to be careful not to put them in harms way or to live dangerously ourselves.  How do adults live dangerously you ask?  By using alcohol and drugs.  I can’t tell you the number of marriages and families that these two have destroyed.  Also, by not being responsible, loving and caring.  Without these three things, marriages and homes can come apart too.

If we will love and care for our families as we ought, as God has instructed us to, they will be greatly blessed and we will be also.  I know I am here, especially when I let Elmo go from the top of the silo with a big smile on my face!CIMG0338

Elmo parachuting from the top of the silo.