I had spent the past few days preparing a Friendsgiving for 16 women, pleasurable hours imagining a fun, relaxed evening that would include boisterous conversation, a golden turkey, fluffy potatoes, citrusy cranberries, pumpkin tart and maybe even a little bit of dancing.
It was about two hours before everyone was set to arrive when this thought crossed my mind: “I must actually be getting to the point where I know what I’m doing. In fact, this really isn’t a very hard meal to pull off if you plan ahead.”
Famous last words.
Following the thought, I got to work mincing rosemary for an appetizer I was preparing. The rosemary was proving to be a bit of a pain though. It wasn’t overly fresh, so it was rolling under the knife instead of easily getting sliced. I’m not sure exactly what made me look away as I worked, but something did.
That’s when I heard the crunch.
And that’s when I looked down.
And that, dear readers, is when I saw a piece of finger primly sitting there on the cutting board.
The cut — or the amputation, as Wm has christened it — started to bleed immediately. No pause, no second of hesitation, just pure blood. I pinched it and thought, “OK.”
And then, intelligently: “OK, OK, OK, OK.”
To be clear, I have had my fair share of injuries in the kitchen. Especially when I first started learning how to cook, my hands, fingers and wrists were almost invariably burned or cut. For the past few years, though, it has only rarely occurred and, in turn, we’ve slowly bought high-quality knives.
I knew this one was sharp because I’d sharpened it myself the day before and, earlier that morning, I’d actually whistled at how easily it was cutting through onion.
I picked up the chunk of finger that was on the cutting board and put it in the garbage so it wouldn’t get lost in the food.
It was only after I did so that it occurred to me that this was actually pretty bad. In fact, it took me actually saying, “This is the worst you’ve ever cut yourself” out loud, alone in my kitchen, for me to process that I needed help.
So, I called my friend Sarah, who is a doctor.
“Oh, hi!” I said in a sing-song voice. “Do you happen to be in the subdivision, by any chance?”
“I just got home,” she said. “Need some help with the meal?”
“I’ve cut my finger.”
“I don’t think there is anything to stitch.”
“Did you cut your finger off?”
Sarah has three adorable kids, so it made more sense for me to drive to her. I wrapped a dish towel around my hand tightly, rolled down the window and drove to Sarah’s with my hand sticking up out of it like Lady Liberty herself.
She greeted me immediately with her three fascinated kids, Owen, Evan and Avah. Sarah started to unwrap the towel and I side-nodded toward Avah, who is 6.
“Are we OK for her to see this?”
“Oh, she’s seen worse.”
Avah shrugged quietly, and I shrugged back.
Sarah was quickly able to ascertain that the bleeding wasn’t likely to stop on its own.
It was now 6:03, 57 minutes before guests were invited to come.
“Should I cancel?”
“Nah. It’s a Friendsgiving. Everyone will be willing to pitch in.”
“Will my finger grow back?”
“Your nail will. Your finger isn’t going to be quite the same. Did you save the chunk?”
“It’s in the garbage.”
“OK. You go home. I’m going to come over with a plan in a few minutes. In the meantime, maybe look for the chunk in case we can sew it back on.”
Feeling a little woozy, I drove home and opened the door to discover that Tilly the Brave, our angelic little puppy, had gotten into the trash. She’s recently become tall enough to reach the counter on her tippy toes and, in my haste to get to Sarah’s, I’d left the drawer to the trashcan open. When I walked in, she and Fitz were happily chewing on turkey giblets.
Finding the chunk was now impossible since, in all likelihood, they’d eaten that too.
Let me just repeat that in case you missed it: I stood there concluding that my dogs had eaten my finger.
Coming next week: Owen Lewis saves the day.