They say what goes around comes around and that pride goes before a fall. The first one was probably said by some dude named Bill. The second one was a Holy Spirit thing, so that one is definitely true. I haven’t ever considered, though, that the fall could be so literal.
This time it was.
A plateful of literal falling, with a side dish of the metaphorical kind. Life would be nothing without metaphors, right?
Anyway, the day’s plan was to drive an hour and a half into the mountains and hang out at the ancient, charming family cabin. It comes complete with a sparkling mountain stream, a shed full of bikes to ride, and lots of sticks to form into bows, arrows, swords, and hiking sticks.
It also had one other amenity that I did not expect.
I was down at the river helping to oversee the children’s activities of mud pie baking, wading up to the waist in full-out blue jeans, and rock skipping. Not far into this, both of my girls expressed the need to use some facilities. One of them was content to use the natural facilities outdoors. The other was not. So I had to traipse back up the path to the cabin to help her find an actual bathroom. Upon finishing all of that, we walked out the back door to the porch and were met face to face with…..
….a BEAR! A full sized mama bear. And boy was I freaked out!
That did not happen. Tell me you did not buy into that.
We were actually met face to face with my oldest boy and a 14-year-old cousin of the people we are staying with out here.
“Hello, boys!” I said, as I was about to push past them to walk back to the river.
“Hi mama,” AG said, somewhat sheepishly. The other boy spoke next.
“Hey, will you play Quidditch with us? We have 3 players and we need one more.”
What? Is he talking to me? Am I awake right now?
“What?” I asked, questioning my very bad ears. “Quidditch? How do you play that?”
I mean, I’ve read a few Harry Potter books and I know what Quidditch is. But technically, it’s played with flying balls and broomsticks, so forgive me for being a little dense as to how it converts to a Colorado backyard. I felt it was a fair question.
“Come on,” he said. “We’ll show you.” I walked around the bend and there in the middle of a green grassy lawn were two chairs, both with posts and quidditch hoops duct taped to them. Well, there you have it. A quidditch–place. Court? Field? Diamond? Not even sure the terminology. Either way, there it was. And there were the other three players just looking at me.
The teenage cousin spent 5 minutes telling me the rules. I was a chaser. My 9-year-old teammate was a seeker. Chaser meant that I got to run like a drunk gazelle trying to throw a basketball through these homemade hoops. Seeker meant that my buddy got to crawl around on his hands and knees in the grass looking for a golf ball spray painted gold. Grandma had hidden the golden snitch and man, was she good at hiding things.
Well, hmm. If you have ever known me, there are two things you already know: (1) I’m kind of an idiot. I love stupid things and I love exciting things. Sometimes I don’t know which is which. (2) I’m just a teeny, tiny bit competitive.
I didn’t go into that game wanting to sprain my ankle. I didn’t go into it feeling any danger or risk. But I did go into it wanting to win. How cool would it be for a 41-year-old lady to beat a teenager? Cool, indeed.
I was a chaser. And chase I did.
I scored on that fella quite a few times. And while I was doubled over, dry heaving, he scored on me. It was tied at 60 to 60, with the golden snitch still missing, when I got the ball back. It was mine. The goal was in sight. Find the snitch, boy, we can win it all!
And then…then, something happened. I wish I knew what. Right in the middle of a sprint for the goal, my ankle turned against me. And in one split second, I went down like a hogtied manatee. Thwummmmmp. Down on my right ankle. Down on my right wrist. The ball went flying, but did not sail through my goal thingie. It landed firmly in the hands of my worthy opponent.
My leg was pinned underneath me and I was, at that moment, in terrific pain. It was intense. I was surrounded by people I hardly knew: a 14 year old who was waiting to beat me, a grandma I had just met, a great aunt with a cane, and a talking parrot named Little Bit. Even the parrot was shocked at this turn of events.
When the searing pain of the initial injury died down, I took my shoe off to look and it was swollen. After a few minutes of deciding whether I would walk away, or limp away with a cane, my opponent spoke up.
“Um, hey. Is it okay if I just score on you now?”
“Yeah, sure. Go ahead,” I muttered. “Sorry, Chesley,” I said to my seeker. The game was pretty much over. Soon after that, my son found the golden snitch and it officially ended. I got up using the cane of an older, but now healthier, woman, and hobbled in to ice my ankle.
In the meantime, my friend was stuck at the river with-like-8000 children. There’s no telling what they were doing, but my 8-old-old was wet to the waist in jeans and thrashing around like someone who is intent upon drowning. The others had to be carried back to the cabin. I think she was ready to roast me over hot coals by the time she saw me sitting on the back porch. I’m sure I looked like a lemonade-sipping primadonna, but I was really just trying to hold it together. I was sweaty, sore, had just lost a quidditch match for crying stinking out loud, and felt like I had thrown the day and all my people under the bus. The last thing we needed was me to be a dead-weight with a borrowed cane.
I don’t know if it was the pain or the sweating or the humiliating loss on the quidditch field, but I actually cried a little bit. I think it was half pain, half embarrassment. I really did feel like an idiot. But I don’t think anyone knew I was acting like a 4 year old, because I had on shades. Now the worldwide web knows, though, so I guess I didn’t save any face after all.
The rest of the day was me nursing my ankle and watching things unfold around me that I could not help with. The snitch-hiding grandma led me into the family room, sat me in the nicest chair in the house, brought me ice and sat down with me to talk. This was, strangely enough, almost worth an embarrassing ankle sprain. This woman might be one of the nicest, funniest, most pleasant and nurturing people I have ever met. I was instantly at ease.
She told me she was sorry I had sprained my ankle, but she was glad I had said yes to the game. She said, “If you hadn’t said yes, you’d be feeling a lot better right now, but you wouldn’t be near as much fun.”
I told that to my friend while she was spreading peanut butter on her 16th piece of bread.
She scowled at me.
She doesn’t know what quidditch is.
We haven’t spoken since.
To Baron Wetty of the Skate-off Fiasco I say this: My fall was both more deserved and uglier than yours. However, it was not caught on tape. Then again, you don’t have a cankle. So, this round goes to you!