When I was younger my Paw (maternal grandfather, for those know don’t know me) would tease me about random things. I guess he never realized that telling a very curious and independent six year old tall tales might interrupt their evening and summer.
I grew up in rural southeastern Kentucky. I ran barefoot in the field, played in the “creek”, and I caught “craw dads” with my brother. I played with cousins and I was always the “boss”. I was the oldest of 7 grandchildren and 4 siblings. My curly blonde hair made it easy for me to convince my great grandmother and grandparents to be at my beckon call. I was rotten, and they made me that way. Apparently, I once called my grandparents without my parents knowledge (or permission) and had them drive 2+ hours to pick me up in Virginia. I wish I could remember the look on my parents and grandparents face when they pulled in the driveway to pick me up. I loved my childhood and growing up in a small town.
My grandparents live on the side of a mountain that overlooks the main road. We spent most of our summer afternoons outside under the shade trees watching the cars pass. My mom had taken my great grandmother shopping, and I stayed behind with my Maw and Paw. It was a hot and humid, July 3rd. Paw use to tease us. He would tell me that if you put salt on a birds tail, they couldn’t fly away. I must have been obsessed with trying to catch a bird (or any other animal). I couldn’t convince Paw to get me the salt or maybe I didn’t ask, I can’t recall. I’m not sure what exactly goes through the mind of a 6 year old. I do know, I went into the house alone to get salt. It wasn’t a good idea.
Maw kept the salt and pepper shakers in the upper cabinet next to the stove. I must have been too lazy to pull a chair over (or I wanted the opportunity to climb), so I opened a lower cabinet door and managed to stand on the countertop. Okay, so we all know this story isn’t going to end well. I don’t recall exactly what happened to make me fall. They assumed I tried to catch myself, which isn’t a good combo when falling from 3+ feet onto a hardwood floor with skinny little arms. I do remember looking at my mangled arm and thinking “boy am I gonna be in trouble”.
I know everyone is thinking, that had to hurt. I’m not sure that I should be thankful but luckily (or unluckily) the severity of my fracture had cut off circulation to my arm. I couldn’t feel anything. I guess that might be why, I thought I was having a bad dream. I was scared to death. I ran through the house, crawled into my grandparents bed, and covered up to hide. Luckily, Maw had heard a thump inside the house and came to look for me. She found me, crying and terrified in her bed.
Paw heard a scream from inside the house and came running. Maw was hysterical and my arm was a mess. They wrapped me in a blanket and we were about to start a very long series of emergency room stops on our way to the University of Kentucky hospital. I was scared and hurting, but I was also about to experience my first random act of kindness by a stranger. It was a monumental experience in my life and you will have to stay tuned for the rest of the story…