Such a Klutz

I had to act quickly.  I had to do something or my already throbbing forehead would soon be in a lot more pain.  He was standing behind me, getting things ready.  My mother was standing in front of me, looking nonchalant and chatting away.  Unfortunately, she was used to this.  But I would never get used to it.  I was in pain, I was scared and I needed a way out.

“I have to go to the bathroom,” I said.

“It’s right there,” Dr. Brundage said pointing to the corner of his exam room.

Bingo.  Adults never refuse a kid who says they have to go to the bathroom.  My mother stepped aside as I jumped down off of the examining table and went to the restroom. Once inside, I locked the door and pants still in place, sat on the toilet.  I didn’t really have to pee.  I just needed a place to hide.

I sat on the toilet looking around, surprised that there was a bathroom located in the examination room because I had never seen it before despite my numerous trips to the doctor.  I couldn’t count the times I had been in that office to be patched up, examined or given shots. Because of my past experience, I knew that this time I was going to get shots and stitches and, at eight years old, I decided to fight back the only way I knew how, by hiding. Unfortunately, my hiding spot was right in the middle of the exam room. No matter, I decided I was in it for the long haul; I decided that there would be no shots or stitches for me that day.  I was content to sit there and bleed.

Just an hour earlier I had been having fun, playing at my cousin’s house.  My uncle kept horses and my brother, my cousins and I had been running and jumping into the back of a horse trailer.  The idea was to see who could jump the farthest.  The bottom of the trailer was lined with straw and with each jump we got more and more covered in straw dust and dirt.  We were having a grand time until I forgot to duck.

I ran towards the trailer jumped as hard as I could, and flying through the air towards the trailer, forgot to duck and hit my head on the metal latch in the middle of the crossbar that held the doors shut. I collapsed to the ground, bleeding profusely from the left side of my forehead.

My mother was called.  She came right away and proclaimed that – yet again – I needed stitches.  Holding a wet washcloth to my forehead we headed off to Dr. Brundage, leaving my brother at my cousin’s house. Between me and my brother, we spent a lot of time at the doctors.  If we weren’t getting stitches – I’d had them recently to my toe and my knee – we were there because we were sick.  In addition to various injuries, one year we had chickenpox, measles and scarlet fever.  All of these visits made me scared of the doctor.

I had so many stitches in the past that I knew the routine by heart.  First, he’d stick a needle into the wound to numb it.  That would hurt.  That would hurt real bad.  One time I asked him if he could numb an injury before he used a needle to numb it.  He laughed at me and told me no.  After sticking me with needles to numb the pain, he would sew me up.  Then he’d give me a tetanus shot.  It wouldn’t matter that I already had one.  I knew from experience that any time I got injured around the horses, I got another tetanus shot.

And frankly, that day, I was not about to be poked and prodded and get at least two shots and stitches.  And so it was that I found myself hiding in the doctor’s bathroom, conveniently located right there in the corner of his exam room, sitting on a toilet fully dressed while holding a wet washcloth to my forehead to collect the blood still coming out of my wound.  Looking around, I decided it wasn’t so bad in there.  There was a sink, I could get a drink if I got thirsty.  There was a light switch so I could turn off the lights when I got tired, although I’d have to sleep on the floor.  That was fine with me.

After several minutes, my mother spoke to me through the door.  “Lorrie, are you alright in there?”

“Yes.”

“Okay.  Well, hurry up and come out here.”

“No.”

“What do you mean no?”

“No.  I’m not coming out.”

My mother tried to open the bathroom door and realizing it was locked she said, “Lorrie Ann, unlock this door and get out here right now!”

She used my whole name.  Like kids everywhere, I knew that meant I was in big trouble. In addition to using my full name, she had lowered her voice, whispered loudly.  I knew I was in for it, but I didn’t care.

Trying to sound brave but failing, I squeaked out a “No.”

I heard my mother tell the doctor I wasn’t coming out of the bathroom.

Dr. Brundage came to the door telling me to come out because he had other patients to see and that it would only take a few minutes to “sew” me up.

Sitting there, with the washcloth still pressed to my forehead, that was the last thing I needed to hear.  I didn’t answer.

After a minute or two Dr. Brundage said, “If you don’t come out, I’m going to take the door off of the hinges.”

Sitting there on the toilet I looked at the door.  I had no idea if he could take the door off of the hinges.  He knocked on the door, in the area of the upper hinge.  “Right here.  See this, I’ve got a hammer and a screwdriver and I can pop the pin holding the hinge and take the door off. ”

Still, I said nothing.  I sat there looking at the door wondering if he was telling me the truth.

“Okay, I’m going to get the hammer and screwdriver then, I’ll have you out of there in a few minutes.”

At that point, although I was already in trouble with my mother for hiding in the bathroom, I knew that if Dr. Brundage had to remove a door to get me out, my troubles would be worse.  Much worse.

“Okay.  I’ll come out,” I said, and I exited the bathroom got my shots and got my forehead stitched up.

I don’t remember my mother saying much on the ride home.  When we got home, I went back to my cousin’s house to show them and my brother my stitches.  I didn’t tell them what a big baby I was and how I hid in the doctor’s bathroom.  Why would I?  There were properly impressed with my injury and stitches.

Later that afternoon, my father stopped at my cousin’s house to pick my brother and me up on his way home from work.  My father worked as a lumberjack.  He was often in the woods all day, away from a telephone, but somehow he always knew what went on at home while he was gone.  Whenever my brother or I would ask him how he knew he’d say, “A little bird told me.”

So I wasn’t surprised that day to learn that he already knew about my forehead and I was fairly certain he also knew that I had locked myself in the doctor’s bathroom and refused to come out.  I expected him to be upset with my behavior and to talk to me about it.  Instead, he took my chin in his hand, tilted my head back, looked at my stitches and said, “You’re such a klutz, you just cost me twelve bucks.  Let’s go home.”

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

Kumm Esse

The first time I met her she told me to call her Grandma.  Although my husband and I were only dating at the time, and although she was his grandmother, she instantly welcomed me into the family and for the rest of her life she treated me and the spouses of all of her other grandchildren, as one of her own. Continue reading

The Elk Parade

Ten years ago my husband Steve and I spent the end of the year with my brother Jason and his wife Laura in Granby, Colorado.  We had a great time cross-country skiing, snow shoeing, going for horse-drawn sleigh rides and tubing down the Rockies.  But what I remember most is what happened on New Year’s Eve. Continue reading

A Letter from My Dead Father

My father’s death was not expected; he was only thirty-nine years old, healthy and vigorous when he went to work one day and did not come back.  He died from Coronary Thrombosis, the same silent killer that later killed newsman Tim Russert. In addition to my mother, he left behind three children, me at age 19 and my brothers ages 17 and 6. Since his death in 1979, I cannot count the number of times my family and I would’ve given anything to hear from him again.  And then one day, we did. Continue reading

The Case of the Missing Pumpkin Pie

My husband Steve and I have hosted Thanksgiving at our house for more than thirty years. Despite the fact that we have the logistics of holding such a feast down pat, it seems like every year there is something that does not go according to plan.  One year the turkey was done too early, another year it took too long to cook.  One year the oven broke the day before Thanksgiving and we had to replace the baking element.  And then there was the year that Thanksgiving was almost ruined for my son Aaron, whose favorite part of the meal is the pumpkin pie. Continue reading

Apple Cider Memories

14494831_1312325642113926_8698823161359892817_n

My son Aaron has always loved apple cider so I was not surprised when he purchased a 125 year-old cider press several years ago.   The cider press, still in its original condition, is both beautiful and practical. Although Aaron bought it to make himself hard cider, which is similar to an apple wine, my daughter-in-law, Renee, saw the potential for a new family tradition, and so the Annual Deck Family Apple Festival was born. Continue reading

Morning Lorries

When I was about six years old I found a trumpet-shaped white flower with a purple center growing alongside the dirt road that ran next to our home.  I picked it and when I sniffed it, the petals collapsed around my nose.  I soon realized that the flower would stay on my nose without use of my hands as long as I kept inhaling and since I thought that was hilarious, I kept doing it over and over.  Looking around as I stood there at the side of the dirt road, breathing in deeply to keep the flower stuck to my face, I saw hundreds of the same flowers.  They were growing on vines that covered the other weeds and bushes; little bright white lights in a sea of green weeds.  I picked a few and ran home to show them to my mother.

“It’s Morning Glory,” she said.

“Morning Lorrie?”

“Yes, Morning Glory,” she said.

I was amazed; a flower with my name, a Morning Lorrie!  I had never heard of a flower called Lorrie before.  Sure, we had geraniums, we had petunias – we even had a few marigolds – but I was the only Lorrie around.  I told my mother that I thought that we should plant Morning Lorrie’s in our yard.

“Hmm….I don’t know about that,” she said, most people think Morning Glories are weeds.”

“I think they’re pretty.  What Lorrie are they named for?”

“What?”

“What famous Lorrie are they named for?” I asked.

My mother started laughing.  “No, not Morning Lorries.  Morning Glories.”

“Yeah, that’s what I said, Morning Lorries.”

“No, not Lorries, Glories, with a ga sound.”

“Morning Glories?

“Yes, Morning Glories.”

Fall has come to Pennsylvania and my flower garden is almost spent.  But last week my garden surprised me with one  last hurrah – some volunteer pink Morning Glories appeared, daring to take on the fall weather.  Although I haven’t planted Morning Glories in a few years, those that did grow a few years ago must have dropped some seeds that were still there, just waiting for their turn in the sun. Morning Lorries….they still make me smile and they still stick to my nose like a suction cup when I hold them to my nose and breathe in.

img_20160925_130017_014

Volunteer Pink Morning Glory  Lorrie

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

Pterodactyl!

When your children are finally old enough to stay home alone after school is both a liberating and terrifying time for parents.  Like most parents, my husband and I made sure that both of our children, Kinsey and Aaron, knew what to do in an emergency.   Continue reading