As I’ve written on a couple occasions in this blog, my son recently went to Lineman College to be a climber and now works as a tower tech climbing steel towers, poles, and other structures. Basically, anything that has to do with electricity and sticks up into the air, he climbs it. I should have known he’d be in that line of work long ago - when he was only a year old.
One summer, both of my daughters were visiting my parents for three weeks and most days my wife worked well into the evening. That left me at home with my son in the afternoon. I needed to paint the house and not being the patient type, I didn’t want to wait until the weekend. My son was a year old but not yet walking and figuring he couldn’t crawl too far, I spread a quilt on the grass, piling a few toys around him. Then, I got out the paint and a brush.
The upper level on our two-story house was set back with the roof of the lower level extending out. This made it nice for painting the wall of the second story - after I’d set a ladder in place and climbed the ten feet to the roof. I painted for fifteen or twenty minutes, stopping every minute or so to check on him. Everything was fine, and then...
The next time I turned around to look, I didn’t see him on the quilt. He was nowhere in the yard either. Dropping the brush on the roof, I quickly made it to the ladder. Ready to climb down and start a search; a manhunt, or babyhunt as it were, I saw him - halfway up the ladder and still struggling to climb.
Not wanting to startle him, or take a chance of knocking him off the ladder, I did what any slightly crazed parent would do - I jumped. I wasn’t nearly as old as I am now so the jump, or rather the landing, didn’t hurt me any. In about two seconds, I was on the ground, ready to catch him if he fell while I climbed up the ladder to reach him. It all ended well, except for me. I think my son’s first experience with climbing took a few years off his Dad’s life!
Over the next few years, the kid continued to climb - just about anything, seemingly not afraid of heights at all. As I’m sure he would point out, it’s really not the height or even the fall that will get you - it’s what comes next. Not that he has much to worry about, he’s had lots of experience; been climbing since he was a baby - literally!