Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The short stories of an audacious little boy

I was raised in the Salt Lake Valley for the first four years of my life. It was a great four years with many stores and trials for my parents. Let’s just say if you were to ask my mom who was a bigger handful my triplet sisters or wonderful me, her unwavering answer would undoubtedly reply with me. Why, you ask, would just one little boy be so much trouble? Here are a few great reasons why.

My favorite toy at the age of two and a half was my dad’s hammer. I was fascinated with the sounds it made when hitting different random objects. My favorite sound was made when I would hit metal. One afternoon I was playing my favorite game in the backyard with my tool toy, hitting the wood fence, the sidewalk and eventually finding my way to the back of the yard where a large propane tank was placed. The sound it made was that of a hollow gong each time I tapped on it. I eventually found my way to the nozzle, and then tapped away because it made a different sound. I didn't know that this was causing the knob to release its propane gasses. Terrified at the growing white mist appearing in front of me I ran to the only person I could trust to save me, my mommy. Being only two years old all I could mutter was “moking mommy moking.” Now with mom alerted the situation was slowly starting to be resolved, but only after her frantic stare at what was happening and a distressed 911 call. Sad to say I had a long sit down with a fire chief concerning safety and precautions about propane tanks.

Like any kid I loved to find hiding places and secret passages. In our backyard there was a garage just close enough to the fence to make a perfect narrow passage, which could be used in various stories and journeys to other lands. One dreadful day instead of a mythical trap there was a real trap. On the wall in the passage was a 1’ by 2’ nest of honey comb bees! Having been too young to understand what this was I began to giggle and play with the few that were starting to pay attention to me. That was until simultaneously I was attacked by the little yellow jackets. Again I ran to the first person I trusted and knew she could help. I ran strait to my mom carrying 15 bees along with me. I don’t know who was screaming louder, me or my mom. Sad to say that I got over 9 bee stings one being on the lip and many more over my arms. It was safe to say that I was not allergic to bees.

As a young child I learned how to get into stuff and find new and interesting things. Other than the occasional coloring on the wall I kept my stuff from destroying the house. That was until I discovered that mom’s makeup could be used to color things just like a crayon. I soon found out that you can also use it to color your hands, feet and leave evidence of the makeup anywhere in the house. I decided to share this discovery with my 8 month old little sisters. I gave them the blush and powder to play with because I wanted the lipstick. Some time went by as our little train of coloring mayhem made its way around the living room and back into our own rooms. I don’t know what was worse having to clean up the mess or the fact that I was punished and the sisters just got cleaned up and sent off to nap. I never saw makeup lying out in the open ever again.

As I said before I liked to go on adventures, mostly due to having a large hunger for new experiences. One day in midsummer I was playing the explorer game in the back yard with just a shirt and diaper on. Recently my dad had installed a very tall wooden fence in order to contain my curiosities. This fence was no match for my determined little mind as I climbed up and over. Parents have this sixth sense about welfare of their kids. It’s like they can feel if something is not right or missing. In order to chase after a missing boy it required my triplet sisters to be packed up in their 3 sealer stroller. So just imagine a frantic mother with three little kids scanning everything in the general direction that I had traveled, in search for the half clothed boy. First she encountered a neighbor who informed her of an odd dressed kid walking north on that road. Heading in the last known direction my mom encountered in the street a crew of construction workers with heavy machinery and a backhoe. Apparently I had climbed onto the backhoe and was playing around with the knobs. “Luckily the key wasn't in the machine or else I would have caused some major damage,” said the worker to my mother. Eventually following the large block around the neighborhood and back to the house she found little helpless Jordan stuck on the tall wooden fence. I had been caught and was suspended by my shirt which was snagged on the top. That evening I had to miss dinner and was a very sad little boy for taking off like that.

Being very young and innocent, when the parents went out on dates they got a baby sitter. I was usually good with babysitters, never put up a fuss, kept quiet and never threw tantrums. What the baby sitter didn't know was of my curiosity. That day a package came in the mail and I wanted to open it. Knowing that sharp things could cut through tape I eventually found my mother’s sewing rotary razor. I know that’s not the best thing for a 3 year old to have in his little hands but hey the baby sitter wasn't around. She was away doing homework in the kitchen. I sat down on the couch and started to cut the tape on the top of the box. Little did I know that this rotary razor was quite possibly the sharpest and most dangerous blade in the house. The razor did exactly what it was designed to do and rolled right over the top of the box not cutting it but continued to roll right on over my wrist. Screaming in terror of what happened I rant to the sitter. Let’s just say she flipped out, called 911 and did all she could to put pressure on the gushing wound. About this time that my parents were getting back from their date and just like in their worst nightmares saw the ambulance pulling up to the house. The terror that ran through their minds was almost unbearable as there could be many possibilities of what happened. That was the first babysitter that never came back. I made it with 7 stitches, a cool scar, and an even better story.

I like fire. It has been very evident throughout my life. My first experience with fire unsupervised was at the age of 3. It was the amazing new discovery of matches that started this lifelong excitement. Over the short time that I had been alive I knew that if I wanted to do something new, I had to do it hidden. Thus the creepy downstairs was the obvious choice. The sound and brilliant light were dazzling to me as I struck match after match. Eventually I got bored with this and decided to try and make the flame a little bigger. I affixed my attention on a bucket of tools which didn't look like they were being used anymore. Apparently the tools had oil all over them. Oil fires aren't as easy to put out as matches. I was scared from the monster I had created so I left to hide in my room. This wasn't the first time nor would it ever be the last time my mother’s acute sense of smell has either prevented a disaster from happening or gotten me in deep trouble. All I knew was that it would be a very long time before I ever got the chance to play with fire again. This time I was grounded for two weeks and had to miss dinner that evening.

My dad and I were working on remodeling a house. Actually it was him working while I just played around with tools and explored my new neighborhood. By now I was four and was able to pick up bigger tools like a sledge hammer. I know, ironic how I just upgraded in size. Well this particular fall day I found a tube of foaming sealant used to fill in cracks at houses. There is nothing in the world that can remove this material; it has to be peeled off. I wanted to see what was inside of this tube. I took it to a remote location in the front yard and wound up with the big sledge hammer that dwarfed my little frame. When I struck the tube a sudden hiss erupted and the foam which was contained inside the tube covered my face and hair. I wasn't expecting this sort of thing to happen when I began because I had no idea what compression was. Running to the dad we soon realized that the material was hardened and needed to be peeled off. The amount in my hair was not anywhere and needed to be shaved off. There were no repercussions for this story other than the pain of getting the foam pealed off.

Life has been an adventure for me and my family. I have so much respect for my parents for raising such an active little child. I have no doubt in my mind that karma will turn around and give the same pleasures of raising a few boys.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

When Time Stands Still

A Reflection


Jordan Stott

When swimming laps in a pool there is not much you can hear other than the sound of water swishing in and out of your ears. It can be a form of meditation but when you are entered into a swim meet your heart is humming, sending that euphoric adrenaline to every muscle in your body. It is at this moment when nothing in your mind exists except for the anticipation of that buzzer to just simply say go. For me a 16 year old in high school this is the feeling and moment I lived for.

The 50 yard dash is the most anticipated individual event at a swim meet. It determines who the fastest person in the water is. At the end of the season are the state championships where all the best swimmers from all over the state meet to determine who the best is. Hundreds of young men have dreamed of this opportunity to be standing behind the starting blocks in the final heat as the announcer calls out your name. Only being a sophomore and by far the youngest one there it was my dream coming true. The eight of us in line waiting to race look more like fish than humans wearing full body swim suits, caps bearing our school logo, and underwater goggles all designed for shaving tenths and hundredths of seconds off our total time.

Signaling silence and the attention of everyone the announcer blows his whistle. It is so quiet you can literally hear a pin drop. It takes nerves of steel to withstand this tension flowing through the air as everyone waits watching. As the second whistle is blown it gives the signal to stand up onto your block. With just you and your reflection in the water it can make or break a racer. Out of the silence spouts the words from the loud speaker “Take your mark” and we all leaned over ready to go.

“Beep” rings the electric box starting the race. For the split second sailing through the air, the roar in the room exploded comparable to any full football stadium. Only to be silenced the second I sliced through the water. In this short race there is only need to take one breath for the entire distance down and back. It is a strategic breath to see where you are compared to everyone else. I took my breath to the side where I knew my competition was. To my surprise he was far behind me, even though it was only a half body length back it was a huge distance! As soon as it started it was over! Hitting the timing pad first I stared with disbelief at the 22.43 up on the score board with a big number 1 next to it on my lane. Everything seemed to freeze right then, not sure what to do next. Not only was I the youngest swimmer to win state from my school but I was also the very first one as well. On the brink of tears I clasped the competitor’s hands nearest to me. When I turned to the sideline to get out of the pool there stood the celebration party of my whole men’s team, there to pull me out of the water.

At this point in time in my life young as I was, I understood what it meant to set goals and work hard to achieve them. It was at this moment when I realized that in life you only get what you work for.

Fall of 09

Hovering in Gorgeous Hills


Jordan Stott

January 25, 2010

Hovering in Gorgeous Hills

The world is a beautiful and ever changing place sculpted from harsh winds, towering ice fields, tectonic plate movement, vast oceans, and the four seasons. Of the four seasons my favorite is autumn. It is when the landscape goes through a dramatic and colorful transformation. During this time of year I believe nature hikes are a must.

Before any great journey, I always try to come up with a theme or title. For this particular feat I recalled a saying by my favorite childhood author Dr. Seuss, in his book Oh, the places you’ll go. “Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So… get on your way.” My journey this season started in the local town of Park City, at the beginning of a narrow isolated valley. The scenery in the valley is mostly green with slight color changes because the cold bite hasn’t reached this lower elevation yet. The excitement of the new journey waited. Having packed away several bottles of water and some food, I was ready to start on a full day’s journey.

It is interesting to see how close the wild is to our human environment. I walked along a trail bordering a few houses and saw female deer with their young, squirrels and birds. The path I followed was clearly not man-made, with deer tracks riddling the narrow borders. Another evident fact that it wasn’t man made was that it seemed to move with the terrain instead of cutting through it.

Ascending up the hill, the colors change slightly from a dull yellow and introduce a vibrant orange. With shades of yellow and orange differing from tree to tree, it gives a deep texture that naturally draws in the eye. Not only are the colorful leaves hanging in the air, from almost hidden branches, but there is also a layer of leaves blanketing the ground. It creates a network of color untouched and pristine.

Each step further up the hill there is a noticeable change in temperature, getting colder and colder. ” I wonder how chilly it will be on top?” I murmured to myself. Only half way up the hill I happened upon another manmade obstacle in the way of my wild path. Cutting along the hill was a road with no trace of life. Suddenly a sour tinge over poured my sense of smell. It was from a dead raccoon flattened in the middle of the road. This was bringing down my happiness. Roads like this are like traps to unsuspecting wildlife high in the mountains. Because of beautiful places like this, people with money desire to live further up the mountain without a thought of what it does to the ecosystem. This causes our worlds to collide in violent ways with humans almost always winning.

Looking both ways as to not become a victim like the raccoon, I stepped on eager to get on the trail again. Over half way up, the trail started to become much steeper. The trees also were becoming further spaced from each other, a clear marking that the top was getting close. It was here that red colored leaves were starting to integrate with the other colors along the way.

At this high altitude the oxygen is thin, and becoming winded happens quickly. More frequent breaks are needed, which are great on a nature hike for someone who is in it purely for the beauty. The chance to regain your breath is just a convenience as the growing desire to gaze at the view of the countryside increases. Smaller and smaller the houses look, as more of the big picture is visible. Passing the tree line, I entered into a new atmosphere, a new layer of the mountain scarcely touched by human hand or foot. By now I was creating my own path, because the one I was following seemed to dissipate when I emerged from the tree line. To me this signified emerging into the true wild, with only a jet plane way up in the sky reminding me what year it was.

Those last few steps are always the most difficult but always worth it. Reaching the top, as in any aspect of life, comes with an overwhelming feeling of achievement. The reward of this goal was the pristine beauty which surrounded me in every direction. The direction I traveled from was a tiny Park City, with tiny little ant cars scooting along in their busy lives. The sun lit up all the Southern facing slopes, making it look as if a child threw random colors of red, yellow, orange and green all over the hills.

Today is my day! I’ve reached the top. Now I will re-live the journey for I am only half of the way.