If anyone were to ask my wife about what she considers the greatest sin that I could commit, I’m sure her response would be: climbing a ladder. For some reason, she does not want me to set foot on even the first rung. The moment I take one (I have several) from the garage, she rushes out of the house and demands to know my plan.
She has no idea how I survived my youth...nor do I. I do know that I spent a lot of time climbing trees, ladders, and onto roofs—higher and steeper the better. No height was too risky; there was no tree that could not be conquered; and no roof was too steep to prevent me from perching on its peek. Level ground was boring; I liked to have a wider view. I recall sitting in my college dorm room, staring at the distant Green Mountains, and wondering what the view would be like from a tree. So, I stopped studying, took my map to find the exact spot at which I stared, drove there, and climbed a tree to get a good view. Unfortunately, it was not worth the trip: I couldn’t even spot my dormitory from that distance. Still, I had a nice climb.
My father was unable to climb a ladder; even a attempting few rungs caused his muscles to freeze. The reason never interested me, nor did I mind having to take over any task above ground. Because wooden houses needed regular painting every few years, the task fell to my brother and me. Although this might bring forth visions of child labor in Dickensian England, I did mind. Upper reaches of our three-story house were more challenging than ground level surfaces, which my father handled.
Nowadays, I must sneak a trip up a ladder, when no one is looking. Fortunately, I no longer have to paint the house...
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.