Saturday, May 16, 2015

Falling Out

With a full heart I give you this Saturday Post...

My Mom asked me to share this, and I am so glad she did. I hope I do this story justice, and pray we find the video recording, as this evolved memory was one of the gems of Andrew. 

Andrew Beard telling stories...
My mother, brothers and I would listen to the "Falling Out" story at every Thanksgiving, Christmas, and pretty much any other time we were gathered together for more than two days. By the time we recorded it on video, we were all as sick of hearing it as he was of telling it, despite how hilarious it was. The storytelling was always organic -  our laughter always genuine. Andrew Beard was a master storyteller, and a no-joke one-act when he wanted to be.

My brother would tell, without fail, the story of how he fell out of Aunt K's car. 

He would always start in about the unfairness of nepotism. There would be some soapbox preamble about fairness before he would say something like, "Aunt K asked who wanted to sit up front?" Andrew was a small child at the time, and ever so quickly raised his hand, but she allowed her daughter to have the prized seat. He got in back, and didn't buckle up either because he was mad and refused to, or because he was too busy thinking about how he wanted to sit up front in the car to remember to. 

If my Aunt were there with us, it was even funnier. She would object to the slander of her good name.

When he told it, he was always hesitant about her nickname, "speed demon". No matter how many times I heard it, I always thought he was going to say some curse word, but it was the word 'demon' that he didn't want to say. But then the story would kick into second gear, and he would hint strongly, or say it outright. Aunt K was known for her lead foot.

Andrew was in back, mad about the situation, and playing with the door lock. "Up down. Down up. Up down...” he would say with this rickety rhythm. We knew what was coming and we were already pulsating with giggles. If our Aunt was there, he and she would get into a conversation (argument) about how she basically attempted murder. My other brothers and I would be rolling in laughter as they would go back and forth – her saying how, “that is NOT what happened!” while his fish of a story got every so subtly bigger and bigger with every telling.

On North Avenue in Baltimore there was a rather precarious turn near to Bethel Street, where we lived. The row houses and corner stores were witness to not a few strange turning habits. I can’t, for the life of me, remember what kind of car my aunt had, but I can, for some reason recall a long car with a red velvet boat seat up front and in back. I do know that Andrew picked a bad moment to pull up on the door lock…

“All I saw was the ground… the sky… the ground, the sky, the ground, the sky…” depending on how hard we were laughing he would repeat his sing-song rhythm of this phrase. It saddens me how the details escape me, even as I remember them. My other brothers and I were enthralled, and practically rolling on the floor. My mother always loved this story, and joined in the laughter, though her perspective was always tainted with the tiniest bit of terror for her son as she listened. It was like traces of shadow on a white wall at midday.

Andrew stopped his head-over-feet dance with the street, and, depending on his mood, got out of the way of an oncoming mac truck. He made his way back in the car, and my aunt and cousin were literally screaming with laughter. He did what any self-respecting man child of his age would do – he started crying.

At this point my brothers and I really lose it, because Andrew would never show us any emotions besides laughter and rage. It’s amazing how strong he was, to pretend so hard for our sakes to be so perfect, but that’s another story…

He climbed back into the car, and calmed himself. They were too busy laughing to comfort him. At this point my aunt would basically throw up her hands. Who could blame her, right? There was no going back.

My aunt and cousin stopped laughing (tears in eyes, trying to breathe…), and then he would impersonate with sonic accuracy, a knock on the car window. 

A little boy held his shoe stood saying, “you forgot…” and were all again undone with side splitting laughter. He would wait, the consummate storyteller, for just enough quiet to continue his misadventure.

They drove to Gramma’s house (it may have been spelled g-r-a-n-d-m-a, but it sounded like a quick kiss), and upon arrival Andrew was put on punishment for misbehaving. “Go sit on the steps,” or something like it was said.

The “steps”, were the top of the stairs to the basement. Anyone who was sent there just KNEW that the boogeyman was going to get them if they stepped down past the third or fourth step, where the spaces between the slats were no longer filled in. If you were told to sit on the steps, your butt was up against the basement door and you prayed you weren't there longer than ten seconds. I don’t know how long he was supposed to have been sentenced to “the stairs”, but I do know that it was long enough for Andrew to come back to himself, and deliver the line of the night.

He comes out of the basement and the adults ask him what he has to say for himself.

He says calmly, with great import, “well... maybe next time you’ll let me sit up front.”

With words, song and prayer,
Drew and Yours truly
when we he was Binky

If you would like to continue to give towards Andrew's funeral expenses, here are 2 ways you can:
  1. Visit This fund was setup by the Beard family (most donations on GoFundMe are simply considered to be 'personal gifts' which are not taxed as income in the US).
  2. You can use PayPal, Visa, MasterCard, Discover or American Express for a tax deductible donation processed securely through Life Christian Church’s PayPal System.

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