The last Wednesday of each month is usually designated for Blogapalooz, a writing exercise that gives ChicagoNow bloggers an hour to write about a topic provided at 9:00 PM.
Today, however I got the following, unexpected email from editor, Jimmy Greenfield:
“Welcome to ChicagoNow’s first-ever Surprise-a-palooza!
Your challenge, if you choose to accept it, is to publish a post on the given topic and publish before you go to bed tonight. Here is the topic:
“Write about something you’ve done in your life that still really makes you cringe”
REMEMBER: No rules! Whatever direction you choose to go based on the topic is the right way to go.
Publish whenever you finish. You have until nighty-night time.
Go, Indeed. Few memories come back to me that don’t make me cringe.
Having been divorced twice, I have my share of cringeworthy moments. Growing up in the 60’s only adds to that number.
As loyal readers, I tell you now that I’ve done many things of which I am not proud. I just don’t want my children to read about them in this space.
There is something that makes me cringe everytime I think about it and it sometimes wakes me up in the middle of the night. And it is not what you’re thinking, so let’s get our minds out of the gutter. Where mine usually resides.
This one isn’t even about any of the myriad cringe-worthy things I’ve done all on my own.
This one is about an event that involves my wife, a ski hill and a foot that was oriented in the most improbable of positions.
We had just finished lunch on a snowy, low visibility day and were heading down the mountain for my favorite of all winter past times; apres ski.
Because of the inclement conditions, we were skiing slowly and cautiously, just trying to get down to a ski lift to get us out of a valley and in position to head home.
That’s when I heard it, a guttural scream disguising a familiar voice. I came to an abrupt stop as I heard a second scream, this one imbued with the sound of abject terror.
I popped off my skis and started chugging up the hill.
Twenty yards above me, my wife lay face up on the snow. Her skis were still parallel beneath her. Inexplicably, one foot was facing forward while the other was turned around facing backward. It was a dizzying spectacle.
She screamed, “Get them off me,” but my brain was slow in determining which foot was facing in the wrong direction.
Cutting to the chase, I got her skis off and reduced the fracture as my military training had taught me. It is something I will be very happy to never have to do again.
The Ski Patrol took over soon after.
Everytime that scene reappears in my mind, my body reacts as if seeing it for the first time. It is horrific.
My wife has recovered and the memories have faded. About once a month, that vision jars me awake. It makes me shudder everytime it seeps into my waking consciousness.
I suppose that I’ve seen worse things. God knows that I’ve created worse havoc myself. Something about seeing that kind of injury on someone so close to me, though was completely unnerving.
Perhaps it was knowing that I was about to become caretaker to someone who would be incapacitated for a good portion of the near future.
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