Monday, September 8, 2014


ONCE UPON A TIME...This is not a fairy tale but don't you just love an opening sentence that starts with those four words?  I do.

Now let's get back to my non-fairy-tale.  There was a woman who happened to have inside her a little seven-year-old that was always jumping up and down, eager to have fun.  She had begun to think of this happy little girl inside her as “Patty”.  

Patty could make the woman feel like a happy-go-lucky girl and she would often forget that she had a body that was waaaay older.   Patty helped the woman to love, without apology, all things retro and thus she began wearing wearing pink cateye eyeglasses.  Who cared if they are no-line tri-focals?  She loved to be silly and relive childhood fun like playing horseshoes and croquet, to act like a clown and wear big red noses, to walk on stilts, to sport cowboy boots, wear funny hats and just have fun and be happy.

The little girl inside her helped the woman get through some of her life's more difficult moments.  Never think just because someone is happy and has not shared all those moments that they have not been through rough times.  To quote Robin Roberts, "We all have something."

The woman fulfilled one of her dreams when she bought not just one, but two vintage campers.  Together she and Patty would go-a-glamping!  When Patty suggested that she name the newest one "Pattycakes", the woman thought it was a brilliant name!  

Pattycakes had a step-down just inside the camper door and then one more short drop out onto the ground.  No problem with that now.  Although the woman loved to laugh and tell how she fell out the door of the Pattycakes the very first day home because she forgot the step-down was even there!  

Pattycakes the Serro Scotty HiLander

On this particular Sunday morning she and Patty decided it would be great to set up a patio umbrella just outside of Pattycakes' door.  Who cared if she was putting a patio umbrella inside the barn?  It would be fun!  She remembered the patio umbrella was stored inside of Allie Jo, the first camper, which had been somewhat neglected since Pattycakes had come to live in the next stall.

Allie Jo, the Aljoa Sportsman

The umbrella was a good plan, right?  Right!  Until the woman stepped down out of the Aljoa onto the step-down.  Uh-oh.  She had forgotten that the Aljoa did not have a step-down nor a foot stool.  It was a long, unexpected drop to the ground and the woman was caught off guard and upon contact with the ground, her foot and ankle turned inward at an odd angle. 

The woman's back scraped against the camper door and she landed on the ground, tangled up with the patio umbrella, moaning in pain.  She watched in horror as the spot on the right side of her ankle swelled.  She thought it looked to be 15 times its normal size.  Patty whispered “10,000 times”.  The woman, now feeling her real age, was dazed, in pain, and feeling slightly nauseous. 
She had no phone.   She was lying in the dirt of the barn floor.  She doubted she could walk.  Her husband had just left for the farm and was not due back for at least 1 ½ hours.  She thought she heard Patty trying to stifle a giggle, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.”  As the woman's mouth curved upward, she knew that Patty was reminding her that sometimes you just have to find the humor when life throws you curve balls.

The woman sat up for a moment to gingerly move her foot/ankle and quickly realized there was absolutely no way she could put ANY pressure on it.  She laid back down in the dirt, arm propped under her head.  Anxiety rose up to envelop her.  

Then her dog Toonie appeared by her side.  He laid down beside her and sweetly licked her arm.  She felt a bit calmer with her dog near.  She kept asking Toonie for advice about what to do but his only response was just to lick her arm again.  He had lots of tricks he could perform, but talking was not one of them.  He was the strong silent type.

Sweet Toonie-Boy

Wild thoughts assailed her mind.  Should I continue to lie here?  Should I drag myself across the dirt, gravel, and grass?  How long would that take?  I don't know what to do!   
Not knowing what else to do, she began to pray.  But not prayers begging her Lord and Savior to save her, but with words of thankfulness.  Thank you, Jesus, that this mishap was not worse.  She thanked Him that she had one uninjured leg and that she had not hit her head on the many hard, sharp obstacles very close by.  She praised Him for the fact that her husband would not working at the farm all day as he often was during the week.  In the presence of her Lord, the woman's heart rate slowed and the panic subsided. 

With clarity she realized that God had given her a brain and she needed to use it to figure out how to get some help.  Her instincts knew that her ankle was either severely sprained or broken.  She was as sure of that fact as she was that the temperature and humidity outside was rising quickly.  She was thirsty and in pain.  She needed to get inside to the coolness of her home.  She needed an x-ray.  She began to think more clearly.  But more than that she was determined to face this problem without giving up. 

Patty had temporarily fled the scene.  

~ ~ ~

That girl-woman is me and my ankle is broken, although an x-ray would not reveal the break until late into the afternoon.  

X-Ray of Broken Ankle

With determination I managed to pull myself upright, injured foot off the ground, to sit inside the camper doorway.  From my perch I confirmed that even the slightest pressure on my foot was excruciating.  I spotted two chairs – a future upcycle project – at the front of the Aljoa. I have never been so happy to see those chairs! Thank you, Jeanelle Beard, for you know the two white chairs I’m referring to.

Grabbing the side of the camper doorway I pulled myself upright onto my good foot, held on to the side of the camper as I hopped over to the chair.  It took a very long time to go about 8 feet.  Sweating profusely, I rested in the chair for a bit.  Then upright on the good foot, I picked up the chair, moved it a few inches forward, and hopped along behind it.  The chair was much too heavy to move very fast or very far.  

After a long while the knee of my good leg was achy from so much hopping.  My arms were hurting from picking up and moving the chairs so many times. Two chairs later - 2nd one lighter than the first - I had almost made it to the garage.  I collapsed, exhausted, into the chair about 20 feet from the garage.  

That is how Monty found me, now almost 2 hours after the fall.  Even with his help it was still an ordeal to get into the house.  He is my hero and and I latched on to his love, concern, calmness, and strength.  I wanted to cry from the relief and comfort of having him home, but I didn't.  There was too much to be thankful for to lose my joy.

~ ~ ~

No, I do NOT have a split personality.  Patty is simply the little girl I once was, the one who knew how to have fun without the worries of life weighing her down.  

Earlier on Sunday morning I had been sitting in chair, coffee in hand, pups by my side.   I was a very Tin Can Happy girl contemplating future camper/glamper plans.  With one misstep I was transformed into a frightened woman lying alone in the dirt.  Unhappy.

Lesson learned:  Life can be changed in an instant with just one misstep.  If I had just had my cell phone with me, I could have had help quicker.  From this point forward I will no longer go outdoors for any type of task without my cell phone tucked in my pocket.  

At this point in my life's journey I have more years behind me than before me.  I freed the little girl inside myself awhile back.  Monty likes her.  My grands like her.  I like her.  Yes, my ankle is broken but within the realm of allowing it to heal, I still plan to find joy like Patty would.

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