Jewish World Review July 23, 2004 / 5 Menachem-Av, 5764
Family members hold sway over hammock
I know a woman who routinely tells friends and strangers that her
son wears size 14 shoes. I never know whether to say "Congratulations" or
I have my own announcement capable of evoking a similar mixed
response: We have worn out a hammock. I don't know whether to be proud or
On one hand, the one driven to multi-task and hammer on a computer
keyboard, maybe we should be ashamed that so much lounging has been going
on around here. On the other hand, the one comfortable holding a bottle of
nail polish and reaching for more ice cubes for my lemonade, maybe we
should be proud of rebelling against the rat race.
Our old hammock lasted five years. The saddest part of this story
is that the new one may not last through the end of the week. The
competition for rest and relaxation has grown positively fierce.
The old hammock was anchored to two towering white pine trees. You
rarely caught the sun, always felt a slight chill and were justifiably on
edge because of birds perched directly overhead.
The new hammock came with a stand. You can drag it across the yard
and follow the sun the entire afternoon. You can pull it under a maple tree
when the heat is sizzling or push it into the middle of the yard at night
to watch the moon rise and find the Big Dipper. The hammock and the stand
are immensely popular, thereby posing an inherent problem access.
Initially, people began claiming time in the hammock using the
Survival of the Fittest Method. This was a shame, as it ended with the
hammock swinging wildly and people making a thud as they rolled onto the
ground. Somehow, all the bumping and bruising seemed a violation of the
very nature of a hammock.
Next, some bright bulb posted a sign-up sheet like they use for
the machines at the gym. You initial your half-hour block of time, and if
you're not there to claim your machine, or hammock in this case, the next
guy in line gets your spot.
This lasted for all of one day as unnamed parties abused the
system. They signed up for hours and hours, days in advance, and then
attempted to barter those time slots for household chores with other family
members. I cannot tolerate any close-knit group of people operating on
principles of bribery not even during an election year.
In a moment of desperation, I tried to ace out the competition by
banning electronics from the hammock: no cell phones, portables, laptops or
CD players. That backfired the first time one of them stuck their head out
the kitchen window and yelled, "Mom, phone!" As I sprinted into the house,
two of them sprinted out.
A hammock lazily suspended between now and forever is a natural
attraction. A hammock can teach marvelous lessons like how to ignore the
phone, the buzzer on the dryer and that long to-do list. A hammock teaches
you the bliss of the breeze, the beauty of the clouds and the pleasure of
There's a lot to be said for softly swinging back and forth, back
There's also something to be said when that simple sway is halted by
certain family members who also cast long, dark shadows over your paperback
book: "Kids, let go of the hammock. Maybe you hadn't noticed, but your
mother is a natural born swinger."
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© 2004, Lori Borgman
JWR contributor Lori Borgman is the author of , most recently, "Pass the Faith, Please" (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.) and I Was a Better Mother Before I Had Kids To comment, please click here. To visit her website click here.