Dedicated to all Fathers and Husbands
It is not always easy to combine specific words in an orderly fashion so that they make perfect sense to the reader. For instance the following series of words;
- Small but heavy antique desk
- Sturdy six foot aluminum ladder
- Storage rafters in a garage
- Strong, agile 83 year old man
All of those words, combined into a paragraph, could produce a short word-picture story, describing a just-around the corner, work place accident.
It was a lazy Saturday afternoon and a perfect day for sitting in an easy chair, catching up on some reading material, which is exactly what I was doing. As the pages turned, my friend Lorretta, my loving companion and wife of sixty-three years, noted that I had reached the end of the chapter. She quietly reminded me of the need to fulfill the promise I had made two or three, maybe more, weeks earlier, concerning the moving of the antique desk out of the guest bedroom. This would allow more space for easier access in that room. It was a simple matter; move the desk to a storage place in the rafters in the garage.
In the communication of that moment, it became quite clear that the reading of the next chapter would have to wait. Though I was quite relaxed, I was not dressed for work in the garage. I was wearing dress slacks, a nice Hawaiian shirt and barefoot. However, this task was very simple, it would not take more than a couple of minutes. I jumped up in order to perform my husbandly duties both quickly and gladly, and may I add, (sigh) finally!
Some minor details needed attention before this simple project could be completed. One car, the red one, had to be re-positioned out of the garage in order to remove the ladder from its hanging location on the rafter. The other car, Lorretta’s white one, would be at least three feet from the action so it was not in the way. The ladder was carefully removed, placed in its exact location and leveled properly. The target location in the rafters for the placement of the small, but heavy, antique desk, was carefully assessed. The process was well in hand and shortly, I could get back to the book.
I carefully placed the antique desk next to the ladder, lifting it by my left hand while I climbed up the ladder. The desk was heavy, but not more than I could handle. As I climbed the ladder, I reached the place where I could grab hold of the 2 X 4 rafter with my right hand for stability while placing the desk in its target location. The desk was in the proper angle to fit precisely into the pre-planned storage area.
However, there in the rafters, not observed earlier by yours truly, a small chair protruded slightly into the open space reserved for the antique desk. It was inadvertently jarred by the antique table leg, being moved into the planned location.
This slight unforeseen reaction caused the small antique desk in my hand to shift to the left, causing a reaction of my body to shift to the right. That movement caused the sturdy six-foot aluminum ladder to move in the opposite direction of the desk, causing me to release my grip on the small, but heavy, antique desk, and at the same time tighten my right-hand grip on the rafter.
The sounds coming from the garage, at that moment, caused Lorretta to stop her ironing in the bedroom and wonder what her husband was accomplishing in the garage. The sounds I was hearing were:
the desk kissing and scraping my face on its way toward the floor, the sturdy six-foot aluminum ladder upon which I had been standing crashing through the safe three foot clearance and smashing onto the highly polished, rear fender of my wife’s white convertible accompanied by the unmistakable noise of the aluminum ladder ricocheting along the rear metal fender on Lorretta’s white car, producing the grinding, scraping, denting sound of white paint being removed from the surface of the vehicle, while the ladder continued its plummet downward toward the floor, being accompanied by the crunching sounds of the small but heavy antique desk crushing the legs of the sturdy six-foot aluminum ladder, lying directly beneath me on the garage floor.
All of the aforementioned events occurring in near record time.
At the conclusion of this short event, while I was still hanging precariously by my right hand from the garage rafters, the following thought found its way into my mind:
“If I release the grip of my right hand from the rafter from which I am hanging, I will be able to join the ladder and desk, with all of us together, in a small pile, on the rubble beneath me on the garage floor”.
Which is precisely what I did!
…then absolute silence!
It was at this precise moment of silence that the bedroom door, leading from the garage to the inside of our lovely home, opened and who should appear but the wife of my youth. She was simply wondering how to explain the strange sounds coming from the garage while she was in the far bedroom quietly and faithfully ironing our clothes for church the next day.
As she stood staring at me, while I was straddling the bent ladder, and with blood coming from the cut on my nose from the antique table and the cut on my shin from the aluminum ladder, she simply exclaimed.
“What happened to the back of my car?”
I quietly responded, while standing in the rubble, like a hurt little boy.
“The car? What about my nose?”
It is then that my Lorretta, following a brief gasp, went immediately into the nurse mode, which is what she has had to do many times during our meaningful, eventful, sixty-three years of marriage, four children, fifteen grandchildren and twenty-four great grandchildren!
As stated earlier, the ability to combine words in order to give meaning is very important in the world of communication and writing. But the combination of words such as ladder, heavy, rafters, eighty-three, lifting, storage, disaster, blood and “what happened to the back of my car!” are far more than just a combination of words. These are the precise words needed to paint the picture of gathered events, illustrating life’s wonderful lessons.
Perhaps the question needing to be asked here is, “what are life’s wonderful lessons to be learned from the combination of these precise words and events gathered together on this beautiful Saturday afternoon”?
At this moment, I have decided to think about the answer until the up-coming, not too distant, Christmas season. That is when I will bring out the eighteen-foot extension ladder and extend it up the side of our home to place the beautiful lights and hang the Christmas decorations on the rather high eves. That could prove to be a very productive, volatile Christmas season project perhaps even my last! Could this possibly work into a “Face-Book post?
I am also sure that before the project is fully unfolded, it will be accompanied by carefully chosen words spoken by Lorretta, my loving, concerned wife;
“Chuck, don’t forget about the $800.00 it cost to fix the car from your last adventure on the ladder. Please, before you go up the ladder, would you move the car to the street?”