Saturday, May 21, 2011

Saturday Musings, 21 May 2011

Good morning,

The world has not yet ended, so perhaps I have time for one short reflection on my life. I say "short" because I find it difficult to type with a splint encasing my left hand. Yes, folks, all those cautionary tales have come true: I did fall, and I did break my wrist, and all those head-shakers and nay-sayers can now sigh and intone, We told you so!

Every year, at my annual visit to the neurologist, he cautions that I should consider a cane or a walker. I thank him for the suggestion, and remind him of the best advice my mother gave me, which was, "If you walk every day of your life, you will be able to walk every day of your life." I mention, too, that I already have two legs that do not properly communicate with my brain, and the addition of a third just causes a third more confusion (assuming my math skills serve me). He smiles, an enigmatic smile that I choose to interpret as mild amusement, and we part, to reconvene and dance the same dance in twelve months.

My current injury hardly rises to the level of exciting. I took a spill after stepping on a piece of yard debris sitting at the bottom of my front stairs. I felt my body slice through the air and, as usual, thought only of protecting my head and my artificial joint. I landed on my outstretched left hand. Fortunately, I have a thin, small body, and the resultant crack is not "displaced" nor did it extend into the joint. Because I broke my non-dominant hand, I did not have to have a cast.

I think my most glamorous break resulted from doing the chicken dance at my first wedding in 1987. If you are unfamiliar with the chicken dance, imagine a circle of intoxicated hippies in the middle of which each, in turn, must imitate a chicken while the others clap and march first to the right and then to the left. By the time I got to the doctor in Little Rock after my Newton County wedding, my foot had swelled far beyond the capacity of any of my shoes. That ortho guy scratched his head as he showed me the X-Ray, remarking that my foot showed signs of prior breaks. He asked, "Didn't you ever feel any pain that must surely have accompanied these old injuries?" I shrugged. Pain? A Jewish woman I knew back in my misspent youth would say, "Mah nishtanah ha-lahylah ha-zeh mi-kol ha-layloht, mi-kol ha-layloht?", which apparently means, "Why should today be different?"

I owe my artificial knee to a crazed Iranian in a VW Scirroco who couldn't see me because of the glare of the setting sun. He struck me from the left, and I flew higher than the second story of what was then the Tivoli Theatre in Westport. Summer Shipp, now tragically deceased but who owned the Tivoli in 1982, called the police as I sailed past her window. I swear I saw an angel, high above Westport Road, who urged me back down with a gentle push of her heavenly hand. It's not time, she said. I hit the VW's hood, then cracked its windshield with my right knee, shattering the entire leg. Twenty years later the knee surrendered its struggle to endure, and now I have plastic and metal that sets off airport alarms.

But not one drop of blood spilled on the hard asphalt that day, and I lived to make jokes about losing a contact and admonishing bystanders not to carry me to the sidewalk by asking -- Don't you people watch TV? You never move anyone who might have a neck injury!!!

My ankle broke in a horrible accident involving the joystick of an electric wheelchair and generally excessive alcohol consumption. The emergency room didn't catch the break at first, but my diligent doctor did. Those poor little feet had all their toes broken years before that, in a freak spill out in my backyard caused by a mischievous gutter hiding in a bank of snow. My son, aged three at the time, walked down the street to get the neighbor who carried me into the house. And in 2007, I fell going into the Minnesota state fair, resulting in a suspicious chip at the end of my elbow and a painfully dislocated shoulder.

As my husband set out this morning to make the drive to Greencastle, Indiana, to fetch the prodigal son, I tightened the Velcro straps on my splint and cautioned him to drive with care. In addition to my vehicle, of which I am fond, he'll be transporting the two beings most precious to me in this world. He smiled -- not entirely sure, perhaps, of which worried me more: the thought of having to replace the car, or the thought of losing my husband and only born-to-me child. He knows better; but my St. Louis-style humor still occasionally baffles him.

It's been a long nine months, without my son but with a new husband and a new young person barreling in and out of the house with raucous good humor and bursts of song in his beautiful voice. A confident young woman serves as another borrowed daughter, this time with a solid legally recognized connection to match the bond of love. The summer stretches before me. I check over my shoulder, and see that my guardian angel remains watchful. She winks, raises a heavenly cup of Joe, and gives me a little salute.

God is, indeed, in his Heaven, and all is, indeed, right with the world.

Mugwumpishly tendered,

Corinne Corley

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The Missouri Mugwump™

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I've been many things in my life: A child, a daughter, a friend; a wife, a mother, a lawyer and a pet-owner. I've given my best to many things and my worst to a few. I live in Brookside, in an airplane bungalow. I'm an eternal optimist and a sometime-poet. If I ever got a poem published in The New Yorker, I would die a happy woman. I'm a proud supporter of the Arts in Kansas City. I vote Democrat, fly the American flag, cry at Hallmark commercials, and recycle.