Whenever I watch an old Western movie, I’m reminded of my two older brothers and me sitting in an apple tree, devouring green apples sprinkled with salt from a pilfered shaker we kept hidden in a jelly glass behind a stump.
While cowboys and Indians churned up desert dust on the drive-in movie screen across the road, my job was to look out for the orchard’s owner and his dogs.
If the movie was the boring kissing kind, we’d make a lot of noise to get the old man’s attention in hopes of creating a little excitement.
Just talking about what would happen if we messed up would raise our adrenaline level so high that my brothers’ voices would climb several octaves so you’d think there were three little girls up in that apple tree.
As a threesome, we were pretty good at creating dangerous situations. It all started in the Florida Everglades when we found that crawling out of bed, while the rest of the house slept, caused our adrenaline to carry us right out the back door without fear of getting a hard whipping.
With only moonlight to guide us, we’d cross over the creek in our bare feet and find a fat stalk of sugarcane that promised lots of juicy pulp.
My older brother was a Boy Scout and possessed a knife that was perfect for stripping away the bark to get to the sugar our young bodies craved at 2 in the morning.
Other than the nostalgic joy of remembering how empowering it is to hurtle through life so precociously, I’ve often wondered about the role adrenaline plays in everyone’s life.
Actually, finding ways to raise one’s adrenaline to the max is now dangerously popular with many young people seeking higher levels of adrenaline via extreme sports or some other kind of extreme stupidity.
Regardless, possessing the strength and stamina to score the biggest Adrenaline Fix is a much coveted prize in that fast-growing world.
As an adult I’ve done my share of Extreme this-and-that but I think the highest my adrenaline was ever raised was directly caused by a special kiss on my 16th birthday ... it rose so high it shoved the last of the tomboy right out of me,
Knowing from experience that our body parts do not fall apart at the same time, I’ve also been wondering if God gives each of us the same amount of adrenaline to work in our bodies like mercury does in a thermometer. And, if so, is my remaining adrenaline too old to rise if I took up base jumping or sky diving?
Don’t get excited, dear readers, I’m not that stupid anymore; however, I do know where there’s a big apple orchard. I think I’ll grab a salt shaker, head out to the country and climb one of them big apple trees to find out for myself.
If my remaining adrenaline is too old to rise, at least I picked the right time of the year to test it, because its apple picking time in East Tennessee … where one bite of a freshly picked apple would give anyone a rush.
Leba has been a contributing columnist, feature writer and photographer to the Banner for 10 years. Leba.firstname.lastname@example.org.