When I woke up this
morning at 5, I was still feeling the effects of my friend Tom
Smiths recent death. I told you about him in this space
last week. The loss of a lifelong friend is not easy to get
over. I can't imagine the feelings of his wife and family.
Yet an hour later,
when I set out with my neighbor for our weekly walk, I found
a good distraction. It was still quite dark outside, so keeping
alert in order not to trip on the uneven sidewalks kept me from
thinking about dear friends passing. Watching for cracks in
the sidewalk eventually made me laugh, because it reminded me
of a trip to Spain that my wife and I and some other couples
took a few years ago.
As we walked around
Madrid, looking at all there was to see, my wife and another
woman repeatedly tripped on the uneven sidewalk. I kept telling
Linda, "Watch your step, sweetheart, or you'll break your
neck." The other womans husband also kept telling
her to be careful as well. But our wives just kept on tripping.
Finally, the husband
remarked that if he got 35 pesetas (the Spanish equivalent of
pennies) for every time his wife tripped, he would be rich.
I said the same was true for me. After that, each time one of
the ladies tripped, her husband would say, That's another
35 pesetas. When one of the gals stumbled particularly
hard and went running, in an ungainly manner, trying to catch
her balance, the respective husband would say, Hey, that
one was worth at least 50 pesetas!
Well, so went the
trip. Fortunately, neither wife actually fell down and got hurt.
After we got back
to Santa Fe, the other husband and I continued to insist that
if we actually had collected money for each time our wives tripped
in Spain, we would be rich. Our wives, tired of our harassment,
grumbled back that we weren't so graceful ourselves. But neither
of us husbands remembered tripping.
A couple of weeks
later, Linda and I went up to our condo in Taos. She decided
to walk around the complex one night to get some exercise. The
asphalt driveway had a repavement bump in it where a water line
had been dug out. Linda didn't see it in the darkness, and she
tripped and took a very bad fall. Besides badly bruising her
face, she also sprained her wrist and hand. As her fingers began
to swell, a ring she was wearing began pinching her so badly
that we though it would break the skin. The condo desk clerk
told me that the police station, which was much closer than
the hospital, had a special set of pliers that would cut the
ring off her finger.
When we got to the
police station, I went in alone to see if they did have pliers
that would do the job. The officer at the desk, a woman, asked
what I needed. I explained that my wife had fallen and sprained
her hand and her fingers had swollen so large that her ring
was digging into her skin, and we wondered if they had something
to cut the ring off. The officer said she did have pliers for
that purpose and to bring my wife in. I went back and got Linda,
whose entire face was by now black and blue from the fall.
When we entered the
station together, the shocked officer looked at Linda and asked
me, "How did this happen?" I told her again that my
wife had fallen in a parking lot and the officer sternly replied,
"Sure she did!" After cutting the ring off the officer
took Linda aside and told her, "Mrs. Evans, if your husband
is physically hurting you or abusing you in any way, please
tell me, and we can take him into custody right now.
As they talked, both
of them were looking at methe officer with a mean glare
and Linda with a sinister smile. Looking into their fierce stares,
I knew that their conversation was about me and that it was
not good. But Linda assured the officer that she indeed had
actually fallen down and that I was not the cause of her injuries.
I'm not sure the officer believed her, but she did let me leave.
Back in our car,
Linda confirmed that the conversation had been about my possible
misbehavior. Let that be a warning, she added, because the next
time I chided her about tripping and stumbling, things could
get very detrimental to my health. I haven't said a word about
Lindas walking style ever since that night. And should
you see her stumbling along someday, dont you say anything
Have a good day.