Sunday, May 8, 2011

Rumble Fish Memories

I don't know when childhood memories turn black and white. Or if all memory loses its color or just most of it.

Some color remains though, like the movie "Rumble Fish," where the fish are the only color--vibrant, moving, mesmerizing against the drab.

A red, plastic fire helmet is one of my Rumble Fish technicolor memories.

The Dobsons were building a house next door to us and digging the foundation left a sizable dirt pile next to the shoreline. It was perfectly located for throwing rocks or clumps of dirt into the river--from atop the pile you could wing dirt grenades into the drink and wait for the brackish recall.

"Emergency!" (I remember it being called "Emergency One") was my show when I was little. I didn't miss it. I had the rescue truck and John and Roy action figures that drove it and the bright red plastic fire helmet that showed I was down.

I was rocking my helmet and throwing dirt bombs into the water when the pile slid under my feet, avalanche style, and tumbled me down into the river. I didn't know how to swim.

My Rumble Fish memory is being underwater and looking up to the surface and seeing my red, plastic "Emergency One" helmet floating above me. It danced in slow motion, out of reach. I don't remember if I even tried to grab it or just watched it.

Next to the bobbing red helmet, feet crashed through the surface as my mom had seen me tumble and run down to the shoreline, jumping in and pulling me and my helmet out onto dry land.

A thankful son? Nope. I actually yelled at her for not calling the fire department, thus robbing me of a chance to ride in the ambulance. I really dug that show.

When I pull the childhood memories to the forefront to examine them, there is still some color left. They haven't all washed to black and white, though maybe they are getting less sharp. The floating "Emergency One" helmet, dancing above me on the surface of the water--that shiny red--that's not one likely to fade. I can see it, swimming, like the rumble fish.

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