Pick me UpDog PileWhile we were visiting many of our family members in Superior, Wisconsin and Duluth, Minnesota, our cousin, Bill Spencer surprised us with a copy of a slide show that he had put together for his family. We were so busy while we were there, that there was no time to take a look at the slide show. When I got home, I looked at it briefly, but nothing really in depth. Yesterday, I took another look…a longer look. I had no idea what a gold mine that slide show would turn out to be. As I watched it, I felt like I had been instantly transported back in time. It was so fun to look at those old shots of all of us as kids. It also felt just a little bit lonely when I looked at holiday pictures from the time right after we left Superior. Prior to that, we would have most likely been in some of those pictures, and I’m sure that my cousins would agree with me when I say that feels a little bit sad too.

Cheryl and Pam had always been good friends, and the younger kids naturally partnered with Bill and Jim. That could have left me feeling like a third wheel, but I got along just as well with the younger kids, so it worked out very well. The reality was that I thought the stuff the younger kids were doing was more fun most of the time anyway. Not to say that I wouldn’t have wanted to spend time with Cheryl and Pam, but I was a pretty active kid. and the rough housing that the younger kids and I did was quite appealing to me. In fact, I probably instigated much of it…if not all of it.

I was really into gymnastics, with tumbling being my favorite part of it. My sisters and I used to practice our tumbling on the front lawn, so it stood to reason that we would do that when our cousins were there too. We practiced things like cartwheels, hand springs, and touching our toes to our head…which turned out to be a little difficult for my cousin, Jimmy, try as he might. And believe me, his trying was pretty funny. I don’t know if he really thought that he could pull his legs up to his head with his hands, but believe me, you can’t do it. Either you are limber enough, or you aren’t. It’s as simple as that.

The younger kids would do their best to gang up on me, to prove their superiority…or maybe it was just the mere number of them against me, or maybe they had a little help from Aunt Doris. Whatever the case may be, sometimes I found myself out numbered. Of course, it was all in fun, and we had such a good time when they were here or we were there. Just looking at the picture of the dog pile makes me smile. All I can say, is that I’m glad I didn’t have all those kids on top of me. I would have been squished for sure!! What crazy, fun times those were.

Seeing my cousins this summer, took me back to those carefree days. Sometimes, you get used to being away from those you love, and you somehow don’t realize how much we miss those times, until we go back for a Head to ToeUpside Downshort time. Then, the memories flood back in. You talk for hours about all the old times, and you suddenly realize just how much you have missed those times. Nevertheless, time has marched on, and you can’t go back to when you were young. All you can do is try to keep the memories alive in your memory files, and pull them out once in a while so you can relive those moments. Those days are gone, but the memory lives on to remind you that those were the days, and they were great. Childhood is but a fleeting moment, but those days will always be a part of who we are.

Caryn abt 3rd gradeThroughout my childhood years, I can say that I never broke a single bone. In fact, to this day, I can’t be sure that I have, but if I did, it was the second toe on my right foot. Since that was never confirmed, I really can’t make that statement with any degree of certainty. What I do know is that I have very strong bones, and when I was a child, I don’t think I thought that was a good thing. Of course, now I know that it is, but back then I wanted to be like some of my friends who had a broken arm, leg, or finger…I just never was.

Apparently, I was obsessed with the whole idea of a broken leg, because at one point I asked my dad to make me a pair of crutches. My mom thought the whole idea was crazy, and she was very surprised when my dad made me those crutches, but Dad saw no harm in it. He carved a set of crutches out of two single pieces of wood. There was no cushion on the top, and believe me, I can tell you that crutches really need them, but a wash cloth sufficed, and I was set. I loved those crutches, and used them for several years.

Thankfully, I never needed those crutches, but it was cool of my dad to take the imagination of his little girl to heart, and give me the desires of my heart…even if they were silly, and something I would look back on later, and laugh about. Mom told me that she couldn’t believe that Dad actually made them, because like most toys she figured it would be a passing phase and in a week or two they would end up in a woodpile or under the bed, but she was wrong on that one. I played with them a lot, for at least a couple of years.

Looking back I can’t imagine what the draw was for me, except the imagination of a young mind…a little girl who saw some of her friends wearing a cast and using crutches or a sling. I had one other passing phase in the broken bone arena before it was all said and done…the broken finger phase. That phase was when I took a wooden clothes pin and removed the hinge, and wrapped half of it with white medical tape around it and my finger, so it would look like a splint. I even wore that one to school one day…obviously I didn’t think that one through. My teacher saw it and started to be so compassionate, when she stopped by my desk during study time to ask what had happened. Well, I liked this teacher too much to lie to her, so I told her it was fake. She laughed out loud, right there in class, and told me that it had been a great prank, so I wasn’t even embarrassed about getting caught. She was able to handmade-crutchlaugh and still let me save face.

Like all childish phases, my imaginary injury phase went the way of the wind. After a time you just realize how silly some things are. Having a real broken bone would have most likely been a real annoyance to me, especially since I loved gymnastics. I can’t imagine a bigger annoyance to a gymnast that a broken bone that sidelines you for the season. Still, even though there is no picture that I know of, I will always cherish the memory of a dad who gave in to the whims of his daughter, and made her a pair of handmade wooden crutches, so she could pretend to have a broken leg.

On February 28th, my oldest grandson, Chris turned 16. It was an epic day in his life. He got his driver’s license, and got to start driving his own car to school, as well as picking up his brother, which they both think is cool. With that license will come driving himself to and from work, and other errands for himself and his parents. It is a great time in a kid’s life…usually.

And it was for Chris too…until today. Chris was in his swimming class today. His swimming teacher wants the kids to warm up before getting into the pool, and so they run relay’s on the wrestling mats that are in between the pool and the bleachers. The mats are there to keep the kids from slipping and spraining an ankle. In theory this might work, but Chris caught his toe on the mat, bending it over, under the rest of his foot, and fell.

Chris figured he had broken his toe, and that there wasn’t much to be done with it. So, he went through the rest of the school day, Wendy’s for lunch, picked up his brother, Josh, and then to work to get his check. The he decided to stop and show it to his grandma…me. We talked about it a bit, and in looking at it, I felt like it might be more than a broken toe, and called his mom, my daughter, Corrie.

Chris was very concerned about going to Urgent Care, because if they had to cast his foot, he might not be able to take his driving final for Driver’s Ed. That would mean a completely wasted quarter, because he would fail Driver’s Ed. That would also mean that he would not get the discounts that go with having completed the course. I tried to reassure him that perhaps they could wrap his foot today and cast it after his driving class, but he still left my office a little worried…both about his final, and his job at Johnny J’s Diner.

Corrie and Kevin, left work immediately and took Chris to Urgent Care. They took 3 x-rays and determined that he had broken the bone that connects his toe to the upper part of his foot. He basically tried to rip his toe off and that caused a half circle break. That was the bad news. The good news is that at least for tonight, he was given a boot cast, which can be taken off for his driving final…whew!! The rest of the good news is that he was cleared to work, since his job doesn’t require heavy use of his foot. That was a big relief to both Chris and his manager.

Chris will still have to go see an Orthopedic doctor, but the news looks pretty good. Chris will have to adapt his driving a little, but I’m sure he can manage that. He is pretty good at adapting to the the changes in his life. In fact, his dad, Kevin took him out in his car tonight to see how it would go, and he did very well. He will still take off the boot for the driving final, but he is going to do ok. Chris is very motivated, because he is one of the top two kids in the class and he doesn’t want to lose his standing. I know he will come out on top of this situation, but all I can say is…what a way to start sixteen.

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