Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Yes, I'm pathetic!

That's right.

Why?

Because I'm willing to do just about anything at times to get my way.

Want proof?

Fine.

Back around 1980, I was in the third grade, and was pretty thin for my height and age.

Seriously.

My mom thought I was some albino Ethiopian. I had a bit of a pot belly, was nearly 5'8", and barely 100 pounds.

It was during this time that my favorite aunt was seeing this guy that my brother and I _really_ liked.

He was funny. He took us fishing. He could cook. He took us camping. He was polite. Did I mention he took us fishing??

Anyway, he was the perfect man in our eyes.

We actually looked forward to the alternate weekend when my folks would drop us off at my grandparent's house, and take off on their "date night". Usually, my grandparents would go to some activity, so my aunt and her boyfriend would watch the two of us.

This was a perfect scenario for the two of us. Favorite aunt. Great boyfriend, no parents. HEAVEN.

Yeah. Pizza. Fast food. Candy. Treats. Ice Cream. No "real" rules, and at the end of the night, the two hyped-up kids were then returned to their "normal" home to burn off the serious sugar coma.

As happens in many relationships, my aunt and boyfriend came to a disagreement one week. As luck would have it, it was the weekend we were supposed to be watched. Depression set in madly with just the three of us there. Something fun was missing, and it was her boyfriend. We all knew it, so no words had to be spoken.

After that night, my brother and I agreed that we needed to get the two of them back together, and make it stick.

The next week, they started talking again, and mending seemed to be progressing smoothly.

Until the news that they'd had another argument.

No! Not the week of our date night! This can't happen!

So, I pulled a mean, nasty, and underhanded trick out of the "do not play" pile.

I got my brother to whine at my aunt, and ask the boyfriend over for some pizza. Faced with an "adorable" face, she couldn't say no, and allowed the call. He then proceeded to whine at the boyfriend until he agreed to come over for dinner.

With the plan in motion, we had a quick conference to set our plans into motion.

Here was the basic idea:

We'd impress them both with what we could do, and because they'd be so in awe of our abilities, they'd forget about their problems, and keep being with us so that they wouldn't miss anything later on.

In the mind of an 8 and 4 year old, this was PERFECT.

Because of my size, I was amazing at climbing trees. There were quite a few around my grandparent's yard, and I climbed them all. Big, small, medium, it didn't matter. If it grew, sprouted leaves, and had roots, I climbed it.

There was one tree that I loved to climb more than any other. It was a HUGE cherry tree in their backyard. It seriously towered over the house, and was a full, vibrant tree. There were endless possibilities in the branches. Thick ones for sitting on, thin ones to swing on, crooked ones to jump around on.. The list could go on and on.

For this night, I picked my favorite tree, and started my routine. I'd scamper up the trunk, swing into the lower branches, and then Tarzan swing up to the higher limbs.

Everything went according to plan. Perfectly still night, good grip, solid start.

Until I got to the upper branches.

You see, I was so light that I could honestly swing in the upper limbs without breaking them. This meant that I really had no fear of how thick or thin a branch was, I'd grab on and climb.

On this night, that habit got me into trouble.

The branches I'd been scampering through weren't as green as they'd used to be, and a couple snapped after I let them go. Not realizing the danger, I kept up, and eventually my luck ran out. The branch I was holding onto broke, sending me down to the ground.

Two things ensured that my life was spared that night.

One, was that I hit a VERY large branch on the way down, which flipped me over, and caused me to land on my back.

Two, the house was very close to the tree, and it didn't take long after the breaking branch for them to know that something was wrong.

After falling from approximately 50 feet, I hit the ground directly over an exposed root on my lower back. This caused my spine to compress, and fracture in three places.

The snapping branches and following thud let everyone in the house know that something was wrong, and my aunt and her boyfriend were immediately outside.

I couldn't breathe. I could barely stay consious. The one thing I _do_ recall was the face.

Concerned eyes looking me over. A gentle voice talking to me. A quick "call the hospital, we're taking him in". Strong but gentle hands and arms scooping me up like I was a feather. The musky smell of cologne.

I passed out on the way to the hospital, and woke in the exam room from smelling salts. I was placed on a backboard, and forced to lie straight so that they could get x-rays.

The film wasn't pretty.

Because of my age, my bones were still pretty pliable, and hadn't completely shattered under the force of the fall. However, they had crushed together, and were now one massive lump of bone that couldn't be discerned from one another.

I was given some painkillers, and given a room. My aunt and her boyfriend stayed with me all that night, even when my parents showed up.

The doctor came in to see us all that next morning. The decision was to NOT fix the bones, but to allow my spine to heal. This was going to be done by fitting me with a back brace, and forcing my back into the position it needed to be in when the bones healed. I would have to stay in the hospital for at least a week, and then I could be fitted and sent home.

Joy.

So, for the next week, I was in traction, and bed-ridden. My folks came to visit, but the one consistent visitor I got?

Yeah. You guessed it. My aunt and her boyfriend.

They'd come visit each and every day. They'd bring chocolate milk, and cookies, and some small hand-held games to play, and just sit and have fun with me in that boring sterile hospital room.

I got out, healed up, and got better. Things returned to normal.

Then, I was asked to be in the wedding, where my aunt married the man who showed so much compassion to a young boy.

Yeah. I got what I wanted.

Sure, it didn't go as I planned EXACTLY, but I still got what I wanted, now didn't I?

Rest in peace Gordon Eddy. You'll always be my favorite uncle.

Gordon Eddy. 1951-2005

4 comments:

PinkPiddyPaws said...

Awwww.... wow dude. Just WOW!!

Tracys Ramblings said...

Oh, Jorm, I'm so sorry for your loss. It sounds like he was an awesome guy.
The whole story was just amazing!

Father Muskrat said...

What an awesome story! Why'd he die so young?

Sorry his life was cut short by about 40 years, but I'm glad you got to help bring a guy you liked so much into your family.

Jormengrund said...

CK: Thanks.

Tracy: I always seem to remember the good about him, he was the best man I've ever had the opportunity to meet.

Muskrat: He died of pancreatic cancer. Unknown to us at the time, he was also developing bone marrow cancer, so even if the pancreatic had somehow miraculously gone away, he was in for some serious pain. I'm kind of glad that he was able to pass quickly..