//There was that one time when you were canoeing with your dad and both of your older brothers, Jor and Ben, and Jor wanted to fish so he made you steer even though you were sitting on the floor near the middle of the canoe, and you zigged and zagged dramatically and Jor had to grab the paddle and rescue you three times in five minutes, but then you got the hang of it and became a pro, even figuring out fancy strokes by yourself.
//There was that time when you got so hot in the sun that you and your bros plopped out of the canoe and sat in life jackets *just so* so as to have a backrest as you lounged in the flooded river, sailing down the fast current, cool and refreshed, laughing and swimming behind Dad alone in the now-nose-heavy canoe, you alternating between pushing the canoe around and hitching a ride on the side, and then dunking underwater and listening to the pebbles swirling and clicking and rasping against the stony bottom and remarking how they sounded like a swarm of locusts and Jor pointed out that you’ve never heard locusts and you retorted, it’s how I imagine they would sound!
//And there was that one time when Jor went a few inches under and disappeared in the murky brown grossness of river water only to blub up out of nowhere, facedown and motionless like a corpse and holding that pose until he spluttered up grinning and shaking his hair and you couldn’t help but laugh with delight.
//There was that time when you were tired and freshly showered and you sat by the fire with Jor and Jill and Ben and Mom and Dad and watched the sunset sky and ate snickers s’mores and slapped mosquitoes.
//And then there was that one time when Mom made a bet with you and lost and therefore had to take you out to lunch and you ate the whole meal rather sloppily with chopsticks and your waiter had a Balkan accent and said, the food is verrry beautiful, yes? and you agreed wholeheartedly and then went to Barnes and Noble - feeling very empowered with a gift card in your purse - and there was a chubby man in a top hat walking around the bookstore being followed by a giant droopy dog who was wearing a green t-shirt, and the man told you her name was Bella Gabriella.
//There was that one time when you were home alone and you played a Simon and Garfunkel record and brushed the dog’s ears and she closed her eyes in bliss, and the record crackled and you sang along off key and it was perfect.
//There was that time when you and your sister Kris stayed up until nearly 2:00 a.m. talking about anything and everything in the quiet warm darkness.
//There was that time when Kris had to get up early and you said maybe you should too and she said, HA!, simply dripping with scoffing like that’ll never happen, so you got up early just to prove her wrong.
//There was that one time when you watched a nighttime downpour pounding the roof so hard it created a mist above the dim shingles and then you went to bed to the sound of thunder and got up early again and watched a monarch caterpillar thrash its way out of its own skin to become a jade-colored chrysalis and later you got literal goosebumps from realizing something beautiful and then you went outside and the sun was so blinding it hurt behind your eyes.
//There was that one summer when you were sixteen and you were growing and you could feel it and life was full of good things.