How I Fell Out of a Tree and Ruined My Summer (1980 ed.)

I have always been a klutz. Always. Like, before I was born, I tripped over myself in the womb or something and caused my mom to take a header down a flight of stairs. So pretty much since conception, I have had one clumsy accident after another.

When I turned five, I got a bicycle for my birthday. I hopped on and ran it straight into a curb.

When I was younger, my family was sorta poor. We had ENOUGH, but luxuries were pretty far out of our grasp. Fortunately, my dad was a military man, so Uncle Sam provided a lot of our necessities, like housing. He did not kick in with a second car, so on the days my mom went grocery shopping, we had to go pick up my dad from his office.

I don't know if you know anything about Louisiana, but there are TONS of willow trees down there. They are so beautiful, and they have large, spreading branches that are just right for climbing. On the days we got to Daddy's office early, my mom and Joon and I would go sit in a tree.

One day, we'd stopped by the commissary and gotten something to drink before making our Tree Stop. I had a plastic container of orange juice, I remember clearly. We made our way to a fabulous willow tree with great big limbs.

The three of us climbed up onto one giant branch of the tree. I wanted to be next to my Mama, but Joon was hogging the whole tree, it seemed like, so the only way I could get to my mom was to step over Joon.

I think you see where I'm going with this.

I held on to a willow switch for balance as I rose up on one foot and prepared to take a giant step over Joon's giant head. Willow switches? Not known for their sturdiness.

I fell, OF COURSE. It was sort of like a Roadrunner cartoon, where the coyote knows he's falling and sort of sits in midair helplessly.

The falling wasn't so bad, actually. Landing was a crapfest though.

You may know this: the Flowers don't do stuff halfway. Naturally, I landed on the ground, but also on a tree limb that was jutting out of the ground. On my wrist. Which I sat on. And I spilled orange juice all over myself.

The doctor said I had a hairline fracture in my right wrist. Slight. Hmph. It hurt like it had been fractured in sixteen places, is what it did, plus I now, twenty-five years later, have a big ol' bump on my wrist at the site of that "hairline" fracture.

I guess the doctor was a distant relation of ours, because he didn't do anything halfway either. I had a cast that went from my hand to my shoulder. For a "hairline" fracture. Of the wrist.

I had to wear it for six weeks. In the summer. In New Orleans.

I'm smiling in this picture, but I probably don't mean it. Joon's smiling too, but on her, it looks weird, because her face is all swollen on one side from where a bee stung her. I totally think the health care industry should comp us now, because my parents sure threw a buttload of money at them when we were kids.

I couldn't do much that summer. I couldn't even take a proper shower, for crying out loud! When we went camping, I had to wear a bread bag over my cast in the swimming pool. It didn't help though, because that cast was MOLDY when the doctor finally cut it off. I'm surprised I didn't come down with gangrene or something. Or die from the smell, one.

Another thing I couldn't do was eat corn on the cob. Now, I always cut the corn off the cob to eat it, and I trace this tradition to the Summer of the Cast. Due to the angle of the cast, or something, I could not hold a piece of corn on the cob and direct it toward my mouth. My mom thought it was so funny, she took a picture of me struggling to FEED MYSELF.

She's nice that way.

One thing I WAS able to do was ride my bike. Somehow or other, I had the ability to ride my bike one-handed, which as you might imagine was a shock to all of us. My mom would load Joon up in the baby seat and we would all ride along the bluffs of the Mississippi River, which were conveniently right across the street.

I wonder how I never fell into the river. Ah, well, some things are meant to remain mysteries.

No comments:


Made by Lena