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Grand Finale of Falls

images“If you were shorter, I think you would’ve caught your balance and wouldn’t have fallen,” said my friend Kathy, who witnessed my arms and legs flail as I tried to catch myself after tripping. I had to laugh. Kathy probably cuts 8 inches off of a pair of store-bought pants to shorten them and I could add those 8 inches to my pants so they’d come to my ankles. If I were her height, I wouldn’t have flipped in the air and hit the side of my head on a piano. But I did.

Catching my balance doesn’t come naturally to me. Never has. I was eight years old when I fell on the blacktop road running to my Granny’s house. She scrubbed my skinned knee with soap and water and painted it with Mercurochrome. For many years, I sported a white silver-dollar size scar.

I was a Tennessee Tech student and the chimes rang the hour for my class to begin. I ran and jumped over a low chain beside the sidewalk, caught my toe on the chain, and landed on the sidewalk. Books, pens, notebooks, and purse scattered. I hobbled into class, late. Torn pantyhose. Blood on the sleeves of my white blouse. Kleenex stuck on skinned elbows and knees. “Glad you made it,” my instructor said.

When I was 27, I fell in the middle of the dance floor at a wedding reception. One of those fancy summertime county club receptions. We women wore long dresses and dangling earrings. The music stopped for intermission and guests gathered around tables covered white floor length tablecloths and adorned with massive floral arrangements.   I spotted a friend across the room that I hadn’t seen in years and rather than walk the long way around the room’s perimeter, I walked across the empty dance floor. A floor must have been oiled on only one spot – right in the middle. My feet went up, my backend down. If the collective sign “OH…” shouted by the 200 guests could have had the power to lift me, I would have immediately stood. But it didn’t, so Husband and friends came to my aid. No visible injuries. Deep embarrassment. I’ve never walked across an empty space in a crowded room since.

My fall that Kathy witnessed four weeks ago was my Grand Finale, I hope. How many people do you know who have stood on a stage, taken two steps, lost her balance on a slightly uneven floor, danced alone with flailing arms and legs, flipped, smacked into a grand piano, and landed under that piano? According to the four friends who watched, a stunt girl couldn’t have done better.

If I were shorter, I would’ve stopped after the dance and regained my balance. But I didn’t. So here’s what I now know. A piano is harder than my head. A concussion takes time and patience to heal. Quiet and calm and sleep are healing. So are notes and visits from family and friends. Husband is a top-notch caregiver.

And patience must be practiced. And practiced. And practiced. Day, after day, after day.


2 Responses

  1. Another great column…if it is any comfort, my mom was very short, and she fell all the time. We told her that her feet weren’t big enough, and it might have been the truth! I hope you are okay now.


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