"Once upon a time there lived a huge, ugly, warty, green, dragon."

"Not that one mom!" Bobby interrupted. "Tell about when you met dad."

"Fine." She sighed. "It was late March, my hopes for spring"

"Mom!" he groaned. "Tell it right."

Smiling she started over. "It was April, my birthday. I looked around discouraged. Streets covered with dirty sludge, bud-less trees, and gray sky threatening another cold storm."

Bobby settled into his pillow.

"I'd just moved here and felt more alone than ever. The reflection in my mirror saddened me. Forty, alone, in a strange city was not my plan. Counting the wrinkles and gray hairs I threw up my hands. Life was flying by. I had yet to enjoy it. I decided right then to live adventurously, no matter what!"

Bobby's giggles stopped when she shot him a playfully threatening glance.

"Driving to the nearest sports store I searched for something fun and found roller blades. 'I can do that!' I thought. 'I was an expert roller and ice skater. How hard could it be?' I tested the best pair on the carpeted floor. No problem."

Covering his mouth Bobby stifled laughter.

"Paying too much I took my blades and headed to Busse Woods. I'd seen countless people skating and knew I could out-skate any of them. Darkened skies, barren trees and the sludgy path looked ominous, but I was determined."

"Get to the gross stuff mom!" Bobby interrupted.

"Patience." She smiled. "I strapped on my blades and started down the path. The slush was a more difficult than the carpet, but manageable. It started to drizzle but I kept on, into the dryer forested part of the path. Suddenly I picked up speed and was out of control."

Bobby grinned widely playing with his covers in anticipation.

"It was then I realized I didn't know how to stop. Ice-skating experience suggested I'd put my feet together, turn slightly and glide to a graceful halt. But when I tried my feet got tangled up! Though I did turn, it wasn't slight. Full force, head first, no helmet, I crashed into a sturdy tree."

Sitting up Bobby listened intently.

"I heard splintering before I felt anything. The cracking sound echoing in the empty woods made me realize that more than the tree was damaged. Clinging to the trunk I captured a glimpse of my mangled hand that had tried instinctively to save me from the crash. I was horrified. Bones poked through the brown and red flesh. Blue tinted muscles lay bare. Shocked I reached for my broken hand with the other, let go of the tree, and crashed to the ground."

"When I opened my eyes they stung from the blood running into them. A pinkish haze outlined the golden face staring at me. Her mouth was moving but the only sound I could hear was the thumping in my head. I thought I'd died. I woke in the hospital."

"You skipped the good stuff!"

"Sorry. Trying to wipe the blood from my eyes with my mangled hand I tore and scratched my face. Wincing from the pain I twisted and felt stabbing in my leg. Reaching down with my good hand to relieve the stabbing I found the culprit, a jagged bone from my other leg. Then I threw up."

Bobby snickered.

"The girl held me down. A crowd had gathered, including emergency personnel. Imagining what they were thinking, I hoped they would believe I jumped from a plane and my parachute didn't open. No one could know that my first attempt to roller-blade ended like this! Especially at the ridiculous age of forty."

"Weeks in the hospital, a slow recovery, left me feeling more foolish than ever. Angie, my paramedic angel, visited me. I liked and trusted her, so when she offered help, I asked about my car. Left in the woods it must've been towed. 'No problem' she said taking my key. Days later a stranger visited. A tall, blonde, handsome, man, dressed in greasy coveralls, smelling like oil, and strongly resembling Angie."

"Daddy!" Bobby squealed.

"Yes, daddy. He handed me my keys and a parking stub. 'Robert's Towing Service' was barely visible under the filth on his patch. I panicked worrying about a bill."

"But it was free!"

"You're spoiling this story!" she grinned. "Yes, it was free. He kept visiting me throughout the next months. July 4th when I was released, I rode in the cab of the tow truck with my car behind. Six months later we married."

"Then I came to live with you."

"That's right, about one year later."

"Daddy says he's glad you're a klutz or he wouldn't even know you."

Laughing she tucked the blankets tightly around her son sneaking a hug. "Good night Bobby, sleep tight."

"Night mommy." He mumbled.

Stepping out of the room she stopped at the doorway.


"Yes sweetie?"

"I'm glad you're a klutz."

"Me too" she whispered dousing the light. Turning she tripped over the carpet and crashed into the wall.