Category Archives: Amusing

My Best Mothers’ Day Gift Ever

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My beautiful daughter came into the world, foot-first, on Mothers’ Day. She arrived two weeks early, as if to say, as she has so many times in the decades that have followed since then, “Come on Mom! Let’s just get on with it!” She has been my cheering section ever since. Never one to dawdle, she still approaches life with her best foot forward, and at break- neck speed. No matter what difficulty the task ahead encompasses.

I had no labour pains on the afternoon of her birth. Just a little snap as my water broke, minutes after a bountiful Mothers’ day supper at my Mom and Dad’s. We left our two-year old son, Steven, in the care of my younger siblings and headed off to the hospital. I made my husband stop the car at our home on the farm next door. There I hastily removed my mascara (I didn’t want post- labour racoon eyes; I was twenty-one and vain), and I grabbed my hospital bag.

Fifteen minutes later I was standing alone and naked in a small room in the maternity ward,in Strathroy Hospital, putting on the gown the nurse had just given me. Meanwhile my husband Rolly was at the front desk, signing the admittance papers.

Suddenly I felt a strange sensation and glanced down in shock, to see a loop of the umbilical cord in full view. Shouting ensued! Me, shouting for the nurse! The nurse shouting for a second nurse! That nurse shouting for someone else to summon the doctor!

That was when a little foot made its appearance. The first nurse knelt on the floor and sprayed the cord and the little protruding appendage with antiseptic.The second nurse attempted to push the foot back up where it belonged. Then the two of them hastily assisted me onto a bed, where I was told I was to attempt to stand on my head to avoid the baby pressing down on the cord.

After a few agonizingly frightening minutes I was transferred to a gurney which began rolling down the hallway. At this point I was unable to see anything but the white sheet under my forehead, in my imitation of a “Downward Dog” yoga pose a humbling position, but one obviously very conducive to prayer, as it was prayer that I was frantically engaged in at that particular moment. Meanwhile, Rolly was shocked at being handed a surgical consent form, on the very heels of the admittance form he had just signed.

And that was how I met the hospital’s surgeon. He came running up beside my breathless entourage and said “I’m Doctor Hoffa. We are going to do a Caesarean Section.” I asked him then if everything would be alright. His answer was honest and brief. “We’ll have to wait and see.”

I woke an hour and a half later, in the middle of a booming thunderstorm, aware of my husband’s soft hair against my arm as he rested his head on the bedside. “We have a baby girl” he said quietly. “Is she alright?” I asked. “She’s perfect.” he answered.

Much like the circumstances of her birth, it seems that Carrie Ann doesn’t have any speed but fast when she begins a task. Sometimes I have jokingly said that even before her arrival she just put her best foot forward and got on with things. Albeit there were a few people who were determined to try to put that little foot back in that day.

As an adult, Carrie has also been the one to take the lead in most situations involving the two of us. When I started up a bakery in the village of Komoka, when she was still a teenager she took a keen interest in perfecting her already notable culinary skills. She began training under the mentorship of some extremely skilled pastry chefs and instructors, while also working with me and very soon I passed the management reins over to her. She just knew how to say “Come on now, let’s just get on with it.” so much better than I ever could. After ten years of working together and successfully bringing our bakery to a key milestone we made a mutual decision to sell it and move on.

Carrie moved on up in the food services industry. At Western University, she trains and teaches others, and motivates them to do their very best. She is very successful in her profession because she gets actively involved in the process of making good things happen, rather than just standing on the sidelines waiting for things to happen.

She is also very loved and treasured by all of her family and friends for those same reasons. In all areas of her life she is always putting her best foot forward, and bringing people joy.

That is why, Carrie Ann, you were and always will be my very best Mothers’ Day Gift ever, Happy Birthday, dear daughter!

Ethan’s Friend

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Siri ( named Sirius, the Dog Star), shortly after leaving her mother is now two.

The woeful sound rose in the crisp early morning air, strengthening in volume as it grew from a cry to a wail, as I approached the driveway from the back yard.

I hurriedly passed under the overhang of the workshop, en-route, and then rounded the corner. From there I could both hear and observe the struggle going on—“No Mummy! No! I wanna go home! I don’t wanna get out! I don’t want you to go to work! I wanna go home!”

“But Ethan, you have to get out. Mummy has to go to work. You need to cooperate!” Apparently, the negotiations had already been going on for some time—but to no avail.

Ethan, my heart’s delight, my three-year-old great-nephew, whom I am privileged to babysit on Thursdays, had apparently dug in his heels (if there was any place on his car seat that he could possibly have dug them into.) If he wasn’t physically doing that, then it must simply have been the power of his will that held him there. He was immovable, determined, anchored— a beautiful, lovable, but, nevertheless, stubborn little linebacker, firmly holding his ground against his strong young mother, his determined old aunty, and the ticking of the clock. Sadly, the latter waits for no man— or in this case, no little man.

I had heard that this stubborn streak existed in Ethan, and that it had occasionally emerged in the past, but I believed, until then, that surely it was an exaggeration. I had never witnessed it before. This incident put me in mind of my own son, forty years earlier. When he started kindergarten, for three mornings in a row, he wrapped his arms tightly around the light standard on the corner near our house, and refused to be dragged away from it. This memory seemed like eons ago until that very moment with Ethan. Strangely, it brought back that same mother’s pain.

With one of us pushing Ethan forward from behind, and one of us pulling from in front, we finally dislodged him from his seat. Realizing that he was defeated, he tearfully turned himself away from us, put a knee down onto the carpet and backed himself  slowly out and onto the gravel driveway.

His mummy then kissed him, and hugged him, and reassured him lovingly of her imminent return, but his persistent sobs prevented anything he tried to say to her from being understood. Finally, he took my hand— tears still streaming down his face.

We waved goodbye together and I quickly turned with him, to preempt him from having any last-minute thoughts of running towards his mother’s  car as she backed it out of the driveway. “Aah! Poor Mummy,” I thought.”I know how you feel.”

I decided we would stop and snuggle on the garden bench, against the wall, under the shop overhang, on the way to the house. Maybe I would be able to decipher then what it was he was trying to say, amidst those gasping little sobs.

My own heart was pounding with both empathy and exhaustion as I seated myself. He snuggled in close as I reached towards him to wipe away a big tear rolling towards his chin.

Suddenly— Boom!— Siri, our family’s big golden retriever, bounded up from the backyard and leaped right up onto the bench, positioning herself on her haunches, right next to Ethan. Like a loving mother dog she began licking his face with great enthusiasm.

“Siri’s kissing me! Siri’s kissing me!” Ethan cried. And, for all intents and purposes, I do believe she was!

For some reason, in my belief that words are important, that words can solve everything, I had just been out-manoeuvred in my attempt at communicating— by a dog! Siri had let Ethan know all that he needed to know, without asking a single question, or waiting for a single answer—“Everything’s gonna be alright!”

Could it be that Siri remembered the pain of being separated from her own mother when she left that big barn on the farm where she had been raised?

Or was it just in her nature to be loving towards this little boy, who has been patiently trying to teach her to obey him, with his commands of “Sit! Siri, sit!” or “Up! Siri, up!” and his handful of dog treats that he asks us for the moment that he sees her?

Or perhaps this was simply something that I like to call a “God moment”— a moment when God puts whatever is necessary for us  into our path, just when we need it the most.

Whatever it was, it was  beautiful.

Ethan’s Gift

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Some of the stone “castles” my grand-nephew Ethan likes to be the “King” of.

There is nothing more precious than the snuggling-in and holding-on kind of hug a three-year-old will sometimes give when it comes unsought for, unrequested, just plain out of the blue.

Sure, we had been playing hard outside all afternoon together, what with racing back and forth in the bright sunshine across the brown lawn as he gleefully stepped on my poor slow shadow’s head numerous times to my once on his— a game he always delights in.

And then, I had willingly taken a seat on the too-small bench at the window of his pretend hamburger joint, a little playhouse under a backyard spruce tree. I “enjoyed” with gusto the takeout fries and burger he prepared— somehow magically transformed from the pieces of cedar mulch and the dried out pine cones he hurriedly gathered for my order.

Later he picked a fist-full of yellow miniature daffodils, and nodding Snowdrops and placed them on a crumb-covered plate on the patio table— a gift for Mummy. Next to it was a scattering of small coloured stones from the driveway— collected for Daddy.

A screeching flock of black grackles dispersed in a flapping rush at the sound of his shouts of “Go! Go! Go!”. This he accompanied with the clatter of two old dented cake tins that he banged together beneath the locust tree each time the birds returned. The bespattered backyard deck, under the tree’s budding branches, revealed their other annoying habit, and he did not want them to mess on the table where his treasures lay. Beside those lay the pile of coloured paper clips and magnets he had abandoned there earlier— all but the red ones, his favourites, which were protruding from the cracks between the deck boards under his chair, next to his yellow bulldozer.

We capped the afternoon with a game of King of the Castle played on every boulder and berm around the three acre yard with me doing all of the boosting up and him doing all of the boasting down: “I’m de King of de castle! You’re de dirty rascal!” I chose not to protest my perpetual “dirty rascal” position, even as he clung tightly to my uplifted hands while teetering four feet off the ground on slippery granite, his chubby little fingers drawn into tight little fists around my own.

Looking up into his laughing eyes, as he looked down at me from his elevated position, I said to him “You know Ethan, you are growing bigger and bigger every day. One day when you are all grown up you will be as big as this all of the time, and then you will have to look down at your old Aunt Vonnie all of the time.” Just then he let go of my fingers and bent down a little to get his arms around me. He snuggled in close and gave me a hug so tight it practically took my breath away. Or perhaps it was not really so very tight at all, but it had the same effect. I realized then, that I had just experienced one of life’s unforgettable moments and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

Ethan’s Nest

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For a few minutes today I had a total out-of-body experience. While that was happening I was lying on the floor in the middle of the living room, inhabiting another body altogether. The thing was, my living room no longer looked like my living room at all either. I am usually such a “place for everything and everything in its place” kind of person, whereas this room was the total opposite.
The beautiful tree-embroidered throw pillows that I had taken so long shopping for, until unexpectedly finding them in a high-end consignment shop, the perfectly coordinated quilted ones that my daughter had just given me, and the two costly coverlets that were also treasured gifts, were all jumbled up on the floor in a tussle. Mixed in to the muddle was a scattering of multi-coloured stuffed toys, some worn-out crocheted throws that had seen better days, and the most special component of all— my little nephew Ethan’s treasured “blanky”.
I was no longer “Aunt Vonnie”. By some amazing feat I had somehow become a bird! A bird, not only in Ethan’s imagination, but amazingly, in my own as well. I had by some unaccountable surrender of my will become a rather large miracle of totally unexpected, late-in-life, fowl fertility!
The last thing I remember of my human existence before that fowl transformation was pecking away on my computer keyboard where I had only moments before— or at least I think it was only moments— been showing Ethan pictures, on face book, of all of his aunts and uncles, cousins, and grandparents. Then he got down off his chair and started playing away on the floor, behind me. I decided to answer a few emails, and the next thing I knew, I was being summoned.
“You, lay down here, Aunt Vonnie! You are a bird; dis is your nest. Now, you get in de nest! You are de Mummy bird!.” That’s when I turned around and caught my first glimpse of the newly constructed “nest”. It was a work of art! It was all that a three year-old’s beautiful mind would imagine a nest to be. It was…………..um……. it was um…..well…. After the shock of how much my living room had changed in what felt to me like all of thirty seconds, it was delightful!
I did as I was told. I lowered my rather inflexible creaky-kneed self to the floor ungracefully, and rolled myself into the nest. After that Ethan shoved the walls in around my awkwardly large form, patiently restacking pillows, and repositioning blanket mounds to form a rather free-form nest, shaped a lot like a giant amoeba. Then, suddenly,  he put his finger to his lips and said excitedly, “Shh! I hear peeping!…. It’s pecking!…Peep! Peep! Peep!”…… “It’s pecking! It’s getting out! Your baby is getting out!”
All at once, he handed me his stuffed doggy and said “Here it is! “Here is your baby bird!” I giggled under my breath. Apparently this was a rather near-sighted bird mid-wife who had come to my aid! What a “Switched at Birth” story this would make in Birdsweek magazine!
Just then, Ethan suddenly decided to become a mother bird himself. He squatted down and began to do what he thought would be the appropriate sound effects to accompany the laying of an egg…. a really LARGE egg by the sounds of it. Finally, he turned to me and said (as kindly as could be expected of any future bird-mother during a difficult labour, under rather over-crowded circumstances) “Aunt Vonnie, Get out of my nest! You are not a bird anymore!”
And so I cooperated. I surrendered my warm and cozy abode to someone who needed it more.

Ethan’s Gift

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There is nothing more precious than the snuggling in and holding on tight kind of hug a three-year old will sometimes give when it comes unsought for, unrequested, just plain right out of the blue.

Sure, we had been playing hard outside all afternoon together, what with racing back and forth in the bright sunshine across the brown lawn, as he gleefully stepped on my poor slow shadow’s head numerous times to my once on his, a game he always delights in.

And then I had willingly taken a seat on the too small bench at the window of his pretend hamburger joint, a little playhouse under a backyard spruce tree. I “enjoyed” with gusto the takeout fries and burger he prepared, somehow magically transformed from the pieces of cedar mulch and the dried out pine cones he hurriedly gathered for my order.

Later he picked a fist-full of yellow miniature daffodils, and nodding Snowdrops and placed them on a crumb-covered plate on the patio table — a gift for Mummy. Next to it was a scattering of small coloured stones from the driveway, collected for Daddy.

A screeching flock of black grackles dispersed in a flapping rush at the sound of his shouts of “Go! Go! Go!” accompanying the clatter of two old dented cake tins that he banged together underneath the locust tree each time the birds returned. The bespattered backyard deck, under the tree’s budding branches, revealed the noisy grackles other annoying habit, and he did not want them to mess on the table where his treasures lay. Beside those lay the pile of coloured paper clips and magnets he had abandoned there earlier —all but the red ones, his favourites, which were protruding from the cracks between the deck boards under his chair, next to his yellow bulldozer.

We capped the afternoon with a game of King of the Castle played on every boulder and landscaped berm around the three acre yard, with me doing all of the boosting up and him doing all of the boasting down: “I’m de King of de castle! You’re de dirty rascal!” I chose not to protest the unfairness of my perpetual “dirty rascal” position even as he clung tightly to my uplifted hands, while teetering four feet off the ground on a slippery granite rock, his chubby fingers drawn into tight little fists around my own bent ones.

Looking up into his laughing eyes, as he looked down at me from his elevated position, I said to him “You know Ethan, you are growing bigger and bigger every day. One day when you are all grown up you will be as big as this all of the time, and then you will have to look down at your old Aunt Vonnie all of the time.” Just then he let go of my fingers and bent down a little to get his arms around me. He snuggled in close and gave me a hug so tight it practically took my breath away. Or perhaps it was not really so very tight at all; but it had the same effect. I realized then, that I had just experienced one of life’s unforgettable moments. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

 

Plates Will Fly!

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I love to write and I have taken great joy in putting pen to paper since my early childhood. Perhaps I should say that in those days, in the Fifties, it was, at first, a  big, fat, red carpenter’s pencil, stubby and flat-sided, and the paper was usually old paper grocery bags, the insides of empty cereal boxes, or anything else that was of little value. (I learned by bitter experience that wallpaper doesn’t fall into that category.)  That first pencil, I “borrowed” from my father, who often kept one tucked behind his ear as he worked out measurements or put down marks where he wanted to saw next, whenever he was working on a project. God provided fathers with ears, not just to hear, I’m sure, but also to keep them from cursing at their children. Where else would that pencil be safe from  covetous little fingers? Well, in truth, my dad was not a cursing man anyway, but just to be on the safe side he still kept his pencil there.

Once I arrived on the scene, there were two kids in our family; but by the time I married and moved out of the house, there were eight. In large families, it is always difficult to maintain ownership of any of your things for very long. A favorite doll gets quickly adopted by a little sister (if it doesn’t lose an arm or a leg in the transaction); that first bottle of “grown-up” perfume becomes an everlasting drawer-scent in a dresser —soon destined for an unappreciative  brother’s use. Unfortunately with another little bed, moved into your room, it just takes up too much space. Your most treasured books end up as a pile of scissors’ fodder ( even for blunt-tipped ones, no less!) Dresses are inevitably borrowed, unasked, or even shortened, unasked, when a sister has a “really important occasion”, and the family’s finances are tight. “Lost” “snagged” “ripped” “gouged” “broken” “stained” “spilled” and “run-over”— these words are the true driving force behind a child becoming a writer. When you are young, your writing is just about the only thing that nobody else attempts to lay claim to. It is the only thing that is truly your own.

So it  was, that my love of writing evolved. I moved on to thinner, longer, yellow pencils, of course, to ancient nib pens for learning perfect handwriting “the old fashioned way”, in a one-room schoolhouse with a crotchety teacher; to refillable fountain pens with blue, black, or turquoise ink; to ballpoints; to fine-tip markers and then eventually the computer keyboard.  Perhaps you noticed that I  left “typewriter” off my list… a deliberate shunning, actually.

My first attempt at learning to type was in Grade Ten; I was anxious and uncoordinated from the outset. It didn’t help that I was two weeks late starting classes— an accepted practice among farm families in the tobacco belt. Generally parents required their older kids’ help until the harvest was complete and the school boards accepted it. Although in all other subjects I quickly caught up, unfortunately,  in typing I never got up to speed. Literally! On my final exam I got a humiliating 26%! When I told my parents “My fingers got jammed in the keys!” in all likelihood it was a false memory of that event; it is more likely that it was actually a panic attack. But that 26% isn’t a false memory! It still appears on an aging yellow report card, in a rusty old tin box in the back of my crawl space.

 Even more traumatic than the mark was the fact that it was used to factor my academic “Final Average” for that year. This was the cause of deep mortification, and teenage angst. To this day I sometimes use it as an excuse for the throwing of plates and silverware at my siblings.(Back then, of course, not now— I’ve finally mellowed out some.)

Like me, several of my siblings love to write and, in fact, they write very well. Sometimes they write poems, and sometimes stories of shared family history. At other times it’s simply a story to make everybody laugh, or to lift someone in particular up. And some of them write in an attempt to make things better in the world at large. Each of my siblings mean so much to me that words cannot really express it. But just let one of them try to borrow one of my stories, and say that it was they who got bitten on the leg by Aunt Grace’s  chihuahua,  or yelled at for loudly singing a hymn in the schoolhouse bathroom, or that it was their eye that the baby robin pooped in— then plates will fly! Mark my words: Plates will fly!

My Own Personal Annus Horribilus

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I still remember the Queen’s 1992 yearly Christmas address, when she let down her guard and referred to her “Annus Horribilus”. Not to make light of such a serious thing or to make it the butt of jokes, but it certainly did have the ability to bring one to attention.

Those not schooled in Latin could be forgiven for misunderstanding, for thinking at first that the term meant something else entirely. Suffice it to say, the Queen had been having a terrible time of it. There are some situations for which no preparation ever seems adequate, not even Preparation …. Well, I’ll just let you finish that train of thought yourself… if you are cursed, as I am, with a train that always stops somewhere near Redneck Humor.

At a certain level, I do realize that an annus horribilus should never be a laughing matter. “Never!” (So say the voices of Wisdom and Decorum.) Unfortunately for me, when I hear voices (which I do on occasion) they are not always reasonable or polite.

Heck, let’s just own up to the fact that when I hear them in the middle of the night they sometimes say things that a decent Bible believing Christian lady should never listen to… stuff like “Kill him!” or “Just hide the stash under the mattress!” or—- Heaven forbid that I  should allow these last words to subliminally affect me— “Nobody flips mattresses anymore!” (Everyone knows that the flippable need to be flipped every so often, in order to maintain some kind of balance in your life! Otherwise you will experience far too many hills and valleys!)

Fortunately, some steps that I have recently taken have almost entirely eliminated those night-time voices. Now I only hear them if the earplugs I use for sleeping fall out, at the same time that the batteries die in my spouse’s earphones. These he uses for TV viewing after I’ve gone to bed. If the batteries die he turns the TV’s volume back on, but only to its lowest setting. All is well until he dozes off..

That’s when the soothing voice of David Attenborough, softly narrating in a gentle whisper about the secret life of the silver-back gorilla, suddenly morphs into screaming and cursing. Somehow two rival gang members are always fighting a turf war, or the Kardashians are at it again. So it is, whenever a recorded show ends and the programming on the channel that was previously on resumes. Meanwhile, my domesticated Canadian silver-back snores away in his comfy Lazyboy chair. Who can blame him? He is tired. He has had his own personal experience with an annus horribilus, one every bit as trying as my own.

If you are going to have to endure an annus horribilus which literally translates “horrible year”, a year of great adversity, then you are indeed wise if you take it with a hefty dose of laughter. Otherwise it is too difficult a thing to cope with. As my wise Mom, aged 86, often says when reflecting on some of the difficult situations she has gone through in her own life “It was so hard at times, that if you didn’t laugh you would have cried.”

For myself and my beloved spouse Rolly, the beginning of our difficult year actually began a short while before New Year’s, on December 23rd of 2014. That day I went through a surgery for a minor ankle problem, the removal of a benign cyst. Mine was the hospital’s last surgery of the year and the doctor seemed extremely rushed to get himself elsewhere. He actually yelled at the nurse in attendance, who had bent down to ask if I was comfortable: “Why are you talking to that patient!?” Loud enough to make me want to answer him back from my mildly sedated, but still  quite aware state: “Because she thinks of me as a person, you dolt!” But, as he had a scalpel in his hand at the time, I restrained myself.

After the surgery, much to the recovery room nurse’s dismay, he left the hospital, forgetting to leave any post-op instructions or even a prescription for pain medication. She did her best to remedy the situation and even called later to check on me at home. By the next day, due to excessive bleeding it was obvious that something was very wrong. This turned into a marathon of long grueling visits to the ER. at the most understaffed time of the year, the Christmas holidays.

On Christmas Eve day, after a seven hour wait, I finally saw a doctor. He discovered that some of the sutures had not held together, but doing them over again was, by then, out of the question. He taped things back together and requested a return visit. That visit took three hours, another one, four, and on New Year’s Day it was five hours more. In a crowded waiting room full of coughing patients, it was inevitable that I should pick up a bad respiratory virus which, unfortunately, lasted for several weeks.

A deep infection of the incision, which developed at the outset, took three months of nurse’s visits for wound care. Despite their expert care I suffered nerve damage to the right side of my foot. The upside is that it has reduced the pain of stubbing my toes by 20%. ( I no longer have any feeling in the “Roast Beef” and the “ Wee! Wee! Wee! All the way home!” digits.) Try telling that to your physician some time. If he writes it in his notes you should probably get another doctor!

Because I had not healed sufficiently, a vacation in the Azores, for our first off-the-continent holiday for a Valentine’s day get away had to be canceled. Due to its bargain price our flights were, unfortunately, not refundable. But, also due to its bargain price, it was not as bad a financial jolt as it could have been either.

Rolly had gone through a knee surgery several months earlier which initially  helped with his knee pain but then the pain returned again. He was on the waiting list for a knee replacement. The redeeming factor in missing our holiday was that an unexpected opening became available for a surgery at that time, several months ahead of schedule. If we had been in the Azores then we would have missed that opportunity.

The operation was done by a very competent surgeon on February 12th, in the afternoon. The morning after surgery a big blizzard began to move across South Western Ontario. As it was expected to localize over Strathroy, and the hospital was already short-staffed, they requested that Rolly go home a day early. So it was, that only 14 hours after surgery, the poor man was already at home on the couch, heavily medicated, with his leg propped up on several pillows covered in ice bags. There would be no shortage of ice— even if the power should go off; there was plenty of it outside!

Our calendar was quite cluttered for a while with my wound care appointments and Rolly’s, for physiotherapy. He worked extremely hard to regain his mobility, but unfortunately he turned out to be one of those people who builds up a lot of scar tissue around the replacement knee. He required a second hospitalization for three days, for another procedure a few months later. This was followed by more physiotherapy appointments at the hospital. He requires a replacement for the other knee as well but wants to postpone that one as long as possible.

One day, when I tagged along, we went to visit my mother in Strathroy. This was the day I discovered what it is like to break a bone. In all my scurrying around to help her with a few tasks, I took a flying header towards the floor, right where the carpet and the tile floor meet. Unfortunately, the carpet in her Senior’s apartment is laid over cement and so I had a very hard landing.

My mother gave me a bag of rhubarb to hold over my throbbing wrist– not because of some quirky folk healing notion— it just happened to be thawing in the sink  (she was making pies.) Rolly rushed me off to the hospital and I dripped a long stream all over the floor and down the hall to a cubicle. No…not what you are thinking! When they finally brought me some ice I surrendered my punctured bag of drippy rhubarb ( much to the nurse’s amusement.) Perhaps it was the rhubarb juice, or perhaps the ice, but in any case, there was very little swelling of the wrist when the cast was applied.

Unfortunately the swelling set in later with a vengeance. It became so severe that the cast began to hinder my circulation and eventually had to be cut off. The exact same thing happened with the second cast, which then had to be cut in half and bound together with elastic bandages. This eventually had to be replaced by a third cast when it began to fall apart. So, for almost eight weeks I stayed plastered, until finally it was over. What a sobering experience that was! I was totally shocked at my complete inability to write, to type, or to use my right hand for the simplest of tasks, even stirring a pot! The fingers had lost all their ability to grasp anything.

It was certainly difficult, but with the help of an excellent physiotherapist, over many weeks, I finally regained my independence– enough to return to the kitchen to resume my duties as Chief Cook and Bottle Washer (as my dear old Dad used to call it.) And so it was that I immediately gave myself a bone-deep incision on my left thumb knuckle, while attempting to cut up a semi-frozen turkey. Back to the Emergency Room for three sutures, and then home again, where I received a lecture on knife safety from my chef daughter, who is also the safety instructor over several kitchens at her workplace. In two weeks I will have what I hope will be my last visit with my physiotherapist for my wrist fracture. This would have happened sooner if I had not needed to postpone. It seems I picked up another respiratory virus  in, (Surprise! Surprise!) the doctor’s waiting room while waiting to get those sutures!

Sure, Rolly and I have had a difficult year, but there wasn’t much we could do about it, and so we laughed… Mind you we didn’t laugh in the moment as each trial, difficulty, or pain bowled us over, but when we got through it we did.

It’s kind of like what happens when you go into rough water at the beach, and you fall down and get washed in and out with the surf, as you try to get back up again. And then your swim suit gets so full of gravel that the stones clog the drain at the cottage and your son-in law asks you “What the heck happened here?” You can only laugh. At least that’s what you do when you finally get your breathing under control again and can see the humor in the situation.

“Imagine that! Almost drowning in a foot of water!” my mother said to me. And we laughed together at her tale of her “near-death experience.” Because both of us know that the water doesn’t have to be deep to drown you. You just have to lay down and let it. But even with her pants full of rocks she didn’t!

And then we both laughed until we cried.