by Jodi Lea Stewart

(See Original Article)

gooseThe magnificent downhill voyage of the lone skier bearing the Olympic torch in Lillehammer the other evening exemplified MOMENTUM.


Though difficult to attach one tangible definition tomomentum, I’ve learned momentum can be—among other things—fun, painful or embarrassing.

Visiting my cousins in Missouri when we were kids was heavenly. Running barefoot in the cow pasture (run and jump into what?), swinging on a rope over Duke Creek, having corncob fights or playing with old farm equipment was more fun than a thousand video arcades or shopping malls.

One of the “funnest” things was curling up inside a giant tractor tire, being set on end by a fellow maniac, and being rolled down the side of the hill.

Giggles and screams filled the air as momentum carried us all the way to the bottom for a crash landing. Thank goodness we had never heard of concussions in those days.

Momentum can be fun.

I ridiculously baby talk and teach tricks to Isaac, the family 50-pound black standard poodle. A summer ago, a then 1-year-old Isaac went to the family reunion with us back to the Ozark hills of Missouri.

We all stayed in cabins perched on the hilly sides of Montauk State Park. Our cabin entrance sported four steep concrete steps. A sharp left turn would take one inside the cabin. The slope of the land, however, presented a three-foot drop if one took a sharp right.

On our first morning in the cabin, from the corner of my eye, I spotted Isaac rush out the old screen door and disappear. Plucking momentum from my rescue mode, I bounded across the room and out the door shrilly calling, “I-saa-acc!”

My husband Mark, witnessing the scenario, said he saw me leap gazelle-like through the door and suddenly disappear.

Lying there on the grass and gravel, Isaac playfully nipping at me and wagging his tail, my only question as I stared up at my loved ones (who dared to explode into raucous laughter!) was, “Who fired that shot?”

Momentum can be painful.

Rushing quickly through the automatic doors at the old Tandy Center, I caught my high heel in a grate plate. So intent was I not to be late for my meeting and so healthy was my momentumoperating that I went several steps (click-plunk-click-plunk-click-plunk…that’s the sound of one high heel and one stockinged foot on marble flooring) before I could stop.

It was humbling to click-plunk back through the crowd to retrieve my shoe from the grate plate.

Momentum can be embarrassing.

Maybe that’s what momentum really is…an invisible force to propel us into territory we might not tread otherwise. In the process, we get to experience some of life’s more exciting, painful and humiliating curves!
—The Collegian, Fort Worth, Texas, February 23, 1994—
This article was also published in:

The Practical Writer with Readings, 4th Ed., Bailey, Edward P. And Philip A. Powell, Harcourt Brace College Publishers: Fort Worth, Texas, 1995, “The Five-Paragraph Essay,” Page 392.