Every time I came out of the door to the Ham House, more of a crowd had gathered on the steps.
“I hope you’ve sold tickets,” I joked.
Immediately Clive went inside to make tickets, coming out again saying he was writing FREE on them.
“Not free! Make it $10.” Ephraim is always thinking practically.
“How about $1?” Asked Clive. So far in his life, the only thing he’s willingly put a price on are the picture books he has written. They are also, I believe, $1.
“$100!” Anselm’s favorite number, and the answer he gives to every arithmetical equation. 6+9? 100!
I believe the amount was settled at $20, and with the fans gathered and paid for, it was time for the race to start.
It was only a soapbox derby. That’s what I was told. Ephraim came to me saying that he had the idea for a soapbox derby. They would use the furniture dolly and car ramps Jeremy uses for working on the cars. A few more pieces of wood gave them a little bit of a track, just enough to get the dolly going so it would careen sideways before sliding to a stop. “Don’t worry, we’ll wear the helmet,” he assured me. I was trying to envision the set up he had in mind as he spoke, and I guess I adopted a look of alarm in the process.
Great care was taken for the track to be set up properly–the trauma of the derby meant it needed to be re-set each time. The bungee cord was a steering wheel, or maybe a seatbelt, or maybe both.
Anselm did the first run. I was inside the house when I heard him laughing uproariously. Nobody laughs like Anselm does when he is really tickled, and no one gets tickled as easily as Anselm does, either. I came outside to see what had happened–both a great quantity of tears and a great quantity of laughter from Anselm warrant investigation, and he gives both easily–they were preparing for another run, setting up the track meticulously, Ephraim barking orders as he does, Anselm still laughing, Clive doing his silly dances he does when he’s really pleased.
Jeremy and I watched from the window as they set everything up. The track, the dolly, the bungee cord, the helmet, even the tires were changed (by Clive, with a pinwheel). It was a complicated process.
“Shame they don’t have any imagination,” Jeremy observed.