Yesterday evening, I was standing at the front door getting ready to cover our plants in preparation for the night’s frost. It was the very last thing I had to do before I could relax before dinner. Know that feeling? When you get kind of desperate to just be done so you start to act a little crazy? You throw toys into toy baskets like you’re being timed. You sprint to check the mail. You vacuum like Drill Sgt. Hartman is screaming he’ll stomp your guts out if you don’t go faster. You just want a few minutes to sit, to be blank, so you fight for it. You rush.
Anyway, that was the state I was in.
So I’m standing on the top step with my arms full of towels. Likely, I was about to put on my flip flops, though I don’t quite remember. All I know for sure is somehow my foot slipped and all of a sudden, my whole body was leaning forward at a 65-degree angle toward the bottom of the stairs and, beyond them, the paved front walk.
I remember looking down — seeing those sharp, red brick steps for, really, the first time — and thinking, “Oh, this isn’t going to be good.” I immediately foresaw broken bones and teeth. I thought of my husband using the words “cerebral hemorrhage.”
Then my instincts kicked in. I flew (nearly) down the steps but managed to reach the pavement still on my feet. I kept plowing forward, trying desperately to right myself. But it was hard. I was heavy. Made heavier by the momentum I’d collected from the steps. Then my brain sent my body a very clear message: “Just make it to the grass.”
I kept scrambling, my eyes fixed on the lawn beyond our patch of ivy. Very quickly, I was there, and my body finally fell. Or, as it turned out, dove.
I know this because, post fall, after my husband William had dutifully patched up my scraped feet and possibly broken toe, he casually said, “I wonder if the security cameras caught that.”
Immediately I was game for finding out. He pranced and I hobbled to the basement where we keep the security system. He started rewinding. And then, suddenly, there I was on camera No. 5, almost literally launching off the front step, dancing down the pavement with giant, Steve Martin-slapstick steps, and then diving head-first into the grass.
We watched it. Then we watched it again. I was laughing so hard I couldn’t see. And then, because it’s 2021 and we have all the technology in the world at our disposal, I decided to tape the recording on my phone and send it to my family and friends.
If you ever want to know the difference between Manitobans and Kentuckians, it was probably most obvious last night when it came to their responses. Nearly every one of my Kentucky friends responded with, “Oh my god. ARE YOU OK?” My friend Candice, who loathes talking on the phone, even called to ask about my injuries.
But when it came to Manitobans? Kristin FaceTimed me laughing so hard she couldn’t speak, tears streaming down her face.
“Can I please show this to David? And my mom?” she asked when she could finally take a breath.
Anyway, the whole incident has reminded me of other times in my life that I’ve fallen. It took me an unusually long time to learn how to ride my bike (obviously, my coordination is a problem) and I remember the many times my dad got the tweezers to pull out the gravel that had collected in my knees.
Then there was the time I dislocated my elbow trying to jump over a ladder and how my forearm was — like poor Barbie’s head could occasionally be — on backwards.
There was also the time, which still makes me wince, I fell on the stairs in high school during class change when, again, I wouldn’t catch myself, so just felt falling backwards, desperately reaching for the handrail. Eventually, I took so long to fall, people just started streaming around me, like a boulder in a creek.
A good fall sticks with you. And seeing one does too. So, please enjoy watching the video of my fall here, in part to give you a laugh, in part to always remember to stay humble.