A Less Than Graceful Fall

The afternoon started well. Sun shining, a cloudless sky and just the whisper of a breeze across Oak Bay. The afternoon chore was simple enough, ideal for the day; just trim the dead heads from Geraniums, Marigolds and other assorted flowers adorning a back garden patio, the driveway and a pebbled concrete path flanking the north side of the house.
It was hot but easy work wandering from one huge planter pot to the next, circling the patio scissors clipping heads past their prime. Then out to the drive way for half-a-dozen more before a break for tea or something more appropriate for a labourer of 90.7 years.
With one last planter to do age and heat told me to quit early, replenish body fluids with something sensible, have a nap and finish the job in the cool of the evening. Masculine pride assured me I was quite capable of finishing what I had set out to do. And we all know what pride, especially the masculine kind, “goeth before.”
So it was that as I bent over to clip the final cluster of dead heads I became, faster than instantaneously, aware my “bend’ had become a straight line heading for the pebbled concrete and a nearby Rhododendron bush. My expletives were loud but thankfully beyond hearing by other human beings.
The joy of not being heard as I cursed my misfortune quickly turned to embarrassment with a tinge of fear as I realised that I was not only down, but down and couldn’t get up. And nobody could hear my anguished cries for help.
Anne, a for-ever “be careful” warden was watching golf on TV and my embarrassed more than painful cries went unheeded until she caught a whimper on that faint Oak Bay breeze, came out to seek its origin and ask: “Where are you?”
With as much faked dignity as I could muster I replied “I’m between my car and the Rhodo bush and I can’t get up.” To her credit she didn’t laugh at the once macho man sprawled half on the cold pebbled concrete path and half in the Rhododendrons.
After a brief but futile effort to right the sprawling hulk she raced at unseemly speed for a senior lady to seek assistance from Derick and Kathleen Woods, across the street. The Woods are the type of neighbour every street in the world deserves – the go-to people who say “call anytime you need help”, and mean it.
With the cavalry on hand it was still no easy task to haul me to my feet with Derick on one arm, Kathleen on the other and Anne pushing modestly from behind. For any professional medics reading this let it be hastily said that before any move was made to elevate the fallen flower trimmer, I was carefully questioned about broken bones. Thankfully there were none and upright once more as man is intended to be, and with human crutches in place on either side, I was limped inside and sat while Anne produced our “Big One” earthquake medical kit. Nasty gashes on my left knee, scratches down my left shoulder and upper arm and various other nicks and bruises were attended to and with a sip of Scotland’s greatest contribution to mankind, I was on my way to full recovery.
I continue to recover sufficiently to offer advice to all aging flower be-headers. Don’t choose the heat of day to mess about in the garden; if you do, listen to your body when it suggests you sit down before you fall down; make sure you have someone close to hand who can remember where you stashed “The Big One” emergency kit; and hope you have chosen to live on a street with people like the Woods across the way.

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