His giggling was incessant, non-stop and frustrating to his competitors. He knew he had the win, even before the competition began, and so the nearly-maniacal laughter, the hilarious giggle unique-only-to-Traben continued while opponent after opponent after opponent lost. They started lining up for their turn, taunting the others before them who’d lost to a kid younger than them. As the boys anxiously awaited their moment for battle, their pride was evident in knowing that they would, of course, beat the laughing 3rd grader.
But they never beat him. They all lost. Every. Single. Kid.
See, if there’s one lesson Traben held dear, one important lesson he took to heart more than any other from my dad, it was the way to always win at arm wrestling. I can’t imagine that my dad prompted Traben to disarm his competitors with laughter before the match, that’s Traben’s own addition to his winning technique. I do know that he encouraged Traben to use certain moves, taught him his secret to winning and helped him practice over and over and over.
I also know that Traben gets the same smirk on his face that my dad did while watching the competition start to falter; confident, amused and with a sparkle in the eye.
Today at the playground, I couldn’t help but think of and miss my dad as a dozen of us gathered around the picnic table in the beautiful Oregon sunshine. We listened to Traben’s non-stop laughter and joined in as we watched the 3rd grader, now dubbed “Super-human,” take on kid after kid, all older than him and defeat them all, thanks to a lesson from his Grandpa.