Coming to you live from the eighth week of winter...
Fall was not a thing for us this year. We had our first blizzard the last week of September. We've had over four more feet of snow since, interspersed with just enough warm weather to keep everything in a constant state of either knee deep or churned up frozen mud, when it's not buried under a layer of snow and ice. Today the sun shined, and then it rained, and now it is snowing again. We have every kind of weather except the good stuff.
I am officially giving up. No more dreaming that one of these days I'll click on the ten day forecast and see that we are going to get a stretch of warm, sunny days. No more fantasies of balmy Thanksgiving holidays. Winter is here so I might as well just deal with it--and that means admitting Christmas isn't all that far away.
And boy, do I have the perfect stocking stuffers for you.
Now that I have a PayPal account set up, I am finally able to offer personalized, signed copies of any of my books to customers in the United States. (Sorry, still can't deal with international shipping). Before I get too carried away, though, I'd like to get a feel for how many of you would be interested. And also, whether some of you might like to tune in to a live book signing on Facebook where I can chat and answer questions while I fill your orders and give away a few odds and ends to those who show up. If either of those sound appealing, shoot me a reply to this email and I'll start thinking about dates and times. Once I see if it's workable and have the details I'll let you all know.
In the meantime, in honor of all the times I've nearly busted my butt on the treacherous ground lately, here's a little smile to perk up your day.
A Good Wreck
I am happy to report that my shoulder finally seems to be healed up from the infamous haystack tarping incident back in August. The kind of wreck where, even as you’re falling, you’re thinking, “Wow, that was stupid.” Especially when I’d already warned my kid to stay off that part of the stack because, HELLO, the bales might not be real stable.
The good news is, I have once again been reminded to be more careful with myself in a way that did not require my son to practice his 911 protocol or involve surgical repairs. There’s nothing like a good wreck to drive the point home.
But wait! you exclaim. How can there be such a thing as a good wreck?
Let us consider an example. One night when I was fifteen, my dad yelled from the living room, “Run up and shut off the shop lights.” Since our shop is around a hundred yards from our house I thought it would be better to ride my bike. I discovered I was wrong at approximately the same instant the front wheel of my bike discovered the pothole in the gravel driveway, and I sailed over the handlebars. When I dragged my sniffling, bleeding self back into the house to rinse the grit out of a series of puncture wounds on my forearm, my mother walked over to the sink, inspected the damage and said, “I told you not to ride your bike in the dark.”
So much for sympathy. But I did not, in fact, ever ride my bike in the dark again.
Many, many years later, I have become a parent myself and I now understand the value of a good wreck. For those without children or those pretending you don’t know what I’m talking about, the definition is as follows:
A Good Wreck—An incident which inflicts enough pain to be memorable, but not so much as to incur medical bills or cause permanent bodily damage (though I would be more than happy to show you the scars on my elbow, thank you very much).
The parental hope is that a good wreck will impart a higher level of knowledge upon the child involved. In other words, you don’t want them to be hurt so bad that you feel guilty saying, “I told you so”, but you’re hoping it smarted enough that they don’t forget it any time soon.
Given my generally subdued nature, you might find it surprising to hear that I suffered a significant number of good wrecks in the process of growing up. A sprained wrist from trying to jump from the back of a moving horse onto the top of a steel barrel. Numerous bumps and bruises from falling out of trees and off fences, roofs, grain trucks and anything else remotely climbable. I also spent days scratching like a madwoman after using a roll of fiberglass insulation for a bucking barrel (it was so soft and bouncy!) and a pile of barley as a sand box. And that was all before I was exposed to my first set of monkey bars.
I recalled these various and sundry insults to my body as I inspected my then four year old child for evidence of broken bones one Sunday morning, while he sobbed and oozed blood into the gravel at the Nanton, Alberta rodeo grounds after slipping off the camper ladder, and ping-ponging off the front of the horse trailer and the pickup bumper. Scraped knees, black eye, bloody nose, but no sign of concussion. After I’d restarted my heart and taken many deep breaths, I made an attempt at sympathy. Really, I did. But once I’d determined I wasn’t going to have to find out firsthand exactly how much emergency healthcare costs a foreigner in Canada, I couldn’t stop myself. And yes, I did sound just like my mother when I said it.
“I told you not to play on the camper ladder. That was a pretty good wreck, huh?”
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