My father ended up with a broken ankle, and my mother’s clothesline was unharmed. I had written an entirely different (and terrible) post for today, but was very unhappy with it so instead I’m going to do what I do best, and that is tell you a story.
This story takes place in the area I grew up in called “The Highlands”, which was basically a mountain with a few dozen homes scattered around the rising slope. We started construction on our home out in the wooded hills when I was about three or four years old. We lived in a trailer on site while my father (with a background in everything construction related from electrician to plumbing) and his band of friends and family set to work on building us a real home. I only have vague memories of the trailer we spent so much time in, mainly I have a vivid memory of my brother and a friend slamming our bedroom door shut on my thumb (which when you are only four years old is the biggest injustice to ever happen to you). We would eventually be living in a two-story house (plus a large attic) with four bedrooms, two bathrooms (one was never finished) and two spare rooms in the (also unfinished) basement. This would be my childhood home, where the first Christmas I can remember took place, and home to many stories I will assuredly tell in the future*.
This particular story has a beginning I remember very well, sitting in the kitchen while my mother was making lunch for my sister, father and I. My lunch could only have been one of two things, a peanut butter sandwich, or what I referred to as “mustard and meat” which was turkey breast and mustard on white bread. I would go through phases where I would only accept one of the two for weeks at a time, insisting that I no longer liked the other option. My mother was strangely patient with me in that respect, I was always a difficult and picky eater as a child (I probably still am in reality). I would spend countless dinners eating rice and broccoli instead of whatever my mother offered me, or occasionally fried and spiced ham my father would cook us every so often as a treat.
My sister and I were sitting at the kitchen table while my mother cooked, and my father was outside working on the roof in some manner on what seemed to me as a child to be an infinitely tall ladder (I really should ask him what exactly he was doing atop that giant ladder). As we sat and began to eat, we all were jolted from our seats by a loud “agghhhh” followed by a crashing noise from outside. We looked outside to see what was going on, and my mother could see the ladder leaning on her clothes line with freshly cleaned clothes hanging from it. “Why is his ladder on my clothesline!” she shouted, “if he knocks down my line he is in big trouble.” as we all rushed downstairs to our front door.
As we got outside onto the front porch all we could see was the ladder up against the line, and my father no where in sight. My mother was confused and annoyed, and my sister and I were giggling at her reaction. “Where is he!” she shouted out, my sister was the first to respond from the side of the porch, “Uhm, mum? Dad is laying on the ground over here wheezing.” We both ran to where my father was, face first on the ground trying to catch his breath. As my mother shouted “He fell on my clothes line!” and seemed to be laughing despite my fathers current condition. Something my mother always has (and always will do) is insist that you are fine unless there is blood or some very visible injury. And of course she did just that as she stood over my poor father, and he clambered to his feet and shrugged it off.
My sister seemed to be the one most concerned, my father insisted that it was not a big deal and that the ladder had been knocked back by the wind. My mother was still mostly concerned with the state of he clothesline, and I was too young to really understand what was going on and likely just wanted to go back inside to play with my action figures. We all went back inside to have our lunch, and my father still insisted that he was perfectly fine (despite falling more than twenty feet onto uneven dirt and rocks below) as he took his normal place in his arm-chair to watch some TV and have some coffee with his meal. It was at this point his ankle started to swell up the size of a softball and was finally convinced he needed to see a doctor.
Some hours later, plus a foot fast for my father, and many laughs from my mother. My sister capped the evening off for us, “See, I told you he was hurt!” to which my mother could only reply, “He’s fine, my clothesline however was almost ruined!”
*I have always loved to tell stories from my life, and after retelling this one there are a few more that will end up popping up here in the future. Look forward to:
– Warm water plus snow equals ice
– My mother the ghost
– Dogs ringing door bells
-Michel, witness to an assault on my mothers clothesline