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Spilt Milk

Okay, so last time we just gotten through Martha’s fall on Hope Street in Providence.

I was not a happy man.

We were now in Patty’s car and we were headed toward her house. She had, she said, plenty of bandages and first aid cream there. Martha’s wounds were...amazingly enough!... entirely superficial. She had skinned knees...because of the heat, she had been wearing shorts. So she had no protection on her legs

She had also had on a short-sleeved shirt. That meant she now sported a quite decorative collection of small cuts and abrasions on the backs of her hands and her forearms. She would discover, later, that she had some bruises in various places, and a few aches, a couple of which wouldn’t relent until we were almost ready to go home.

I took stock of myself. I had managed to stop shaking. I noticed, very vaguely...almost subconsciously...that I had also managed to throw my back out when I got Martha up. You’ll remember that I had begun the process of doing the back-throwing boogy while carrying the luggage. Now, I’d gone all the way. Frankly, though, I really didn’t become aware of that fact for nearly 48 hours. I was too busy thinking of other things.

I suppose we should have just gone straight to an urgent care clinic. Martha should have gotten checked out for anything I’d missed in my none too professional examination of her. And I could have gotten some muscle relaxants for my back. But, Martha was determined that she would NOT “spoil our vacation,” and I was in no state to realize I was in pain.

A Story Of Spilt Milk

Then...mostly to relieve the tension...Patty and I began to tease Martha. “Well, that was exciting.” “You don’t really need to provide that level of drama just to entertain us.” And so on...

I have to make a confession here. And I did apologize to Martha for this later. But, I went a little too far at one point. Anyway, I brought up in the conversation something which is, indeed, quite true, but which I should have shut up about. Specifically, she doesn’t always watch her feet.

Now, understand me, we all have unfortunate behaviors. Mine is that I have no sense of direction. I am lost a good deal of the time. But, I also get very sensitive about that fact, and I resent it when people...well, Martha, who *does* have a great sense of direction...correct me. Understand, if Martha didn’t correct me while I was driving, we might never arrive anywhere...or anywhere we actually wanted to go. But, I get really peeved about it just the same.

Now, Martha’s version of those unfortunate behaviors (albeit hers are nicer) is that she’s like a big toddler. The world is absolutely fascinating to her. There is so much to look at, to see, to experience...

That is fine...terrific, even...but it’s not so good if you have balance problems, and if you’re in a complicated environment, and there’s lots of stuff to trip over, and you don’t look down...

One of the first times I realized that we had a problem in this way was shortly after we became a couple. We had gone grocery shopping at a store in Massachussets. We were walking together. We had the cart. She was, as usual, gazing delightedly at the offerings. “Oh, look, that asparagus looks terrific! And it’s on sale!”

I looked up. Ahead, down the aisle, someone had dropped a full quart container of milk. It was a glass bottle. Remember when they sold milk in glass bottles? Don’t see it very often these days, but it used to be par for the course. Whoever had dropped it had done nothing about picking it up or reporting it to the management so they could send a clerk with a mop.

So, in front of us, was a pool of milk and a pile of broken glass.

“Oh!” I said, “Someone’s dropped a bottle. Watch out.”

“Hmm? Oh, yes. And...oh, look! Those apples! Granny Smiths! Hard to get this time of year. “ She walked forward, determinedly...step, step, step...

“Watch out for the glass,” I said.

“And look! They’re 20% off! That’s amazing!” Step, step, step...

“Martha,” I said, growing concerned...

“And, wow! Pomegranates! I’ve never quite known how to eat pomegranates. But they’re so mythical and literary. I mean, Persephone and all that.” Step, step, step...

“Martha,” I said, now really worried.

“And there’s nothing quite like fresh strawberries, is there?” Step... Splash! Splash! Splash! Tinkle, Tinkle...


“Hmm? Did you say something?” she said, absent-mindedly, while carefully examining a strangely shaped rutabaga.

As I recall, she left milky little footprints all the way to the check out line.

Anyway, I told this story while we were driving. Patty was amused.

Martha...not so much.

But, fortunately, she waited until we were in private before she considered whacking me with a steel-belted, double-barreled mashie niblick.

She didn’t do it. But...well...

Couldn’t have blamed her if she had.

More to come.


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