The grandfather couldn’t throw because his spine was frozen making it impossible to twist his upper body. The father could throw but wasn’t good at it. The brother could throw, too, and was skilled at stone skipping which was an inspiration to the younger boy. Men and stones. Boys and stones and a body of water. Impossible to resist. The skip, skip, skippity of stone across the surface of lake, river, pond, creek, or bay. We all do it. Some are better than others but it’s doing it that matters.
At this age, the following day can bring arm pain, muscle fatigue, and the reminders those cakes with few candles are far in the distant past. The cakes will only grow more cluttered now, but the brain tells the boy he is still a boy and should skip stones anytime the chance reveals itself.
Salt to fresh, calm to rippled. The curve and edges of the stone, the weight, and the precious angle make or break the enterprise. A downward curve and the thrower is rewarded with the plume of the single skip. Plunk. A pillar of water spiking from the center. But an upward curve combined with force and spin, and it is as if the stone is allergic to the water, like magnetics revolted by the idea another exists. Tiny circles are the only evidence contact was made. Three, four, five, six, seven at times. Fading into the blackness while the thrower searches for another more perfect piece to compliment his practice.