Old folks ought to stay at home

Published 8:17 pm Saturday, December 27, 2008

Lying on a bed of hard rocks with icy water from the mountain stream running over me, I could hear Mama’s words just as plain: “This is why old folks ought to stay at home.”

How many times in how many different situations did I hear Mama say that.

Her firm belief was that after a certain age, which she never actually defined, “old folks ought to stay at home.”

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The little mishap, a slip on an icy rock, caused me to lag behind on the hike to Cheaha State Parks’s High Falls and far beyond. Hanging back with aching ribs and frozen britches allowed me time to ponder Mama’s words and to consider that, maybe, she was right.

Old folks aren’t as “agile” as need be and don’t think too quickly on their feet, especially when their feet are all askew and parallel to the ground.

When I made my unexpected and less than graceful spill onto rocks and into rushing water, I didn’t have the presence of mind to break my fall but I did raise my digital camera high and safely into the air.

After my son and grandson pulled me back to a vertical position, my son admonished me. Why didn’t I drop the camera and break my fall?

It was a matter of economics. The camera cost two week’s paycheck.

“How much to you think it would have cost to airlift you out of here?”

I didn’t think about that. Old folks don’t think while falling.

At the onset of a fall, we just give way to gravity and hope we get points for a “good” landing. And, that no one is watching.

The worse thing about a fall is the embarrassment. And, it’s almost more embarrassing when you’re not the old person falling, just the old friend of the old person falling.

Lately, the “girls” I hang around with have taken to falling and it’s just downright embarrassing that we can’t stay upright out in public.

Weezer couldn’t even stay on a horse. Fell right off and, for weeks, had to go out in public, black and blue and swollen, and say for the thousandth time, “I fell off a horse.”

Mama would have said that old folks shouldn’t be on horses in the first place. “Old folks just ought to stay at home.”

Then, Squirmy has flattened out four times. In the middle of the street and 10,00 people National Storytelling Festival, she sprawled out, face first. But give her points for a quick recovery. She was up before you could say “Jack Rabbit.”

She tripped over the garden hose and broke her finger and slipped and crashed coming out of the bath tub – now that would have been most embarrassing if paramedics had been needed. Then she fell coming down the steps at a theater and sat on the floor with her legs spread out like Olive Oil, waving her hand and saying not a word.

Teacakes did a nose dive at Mule Day and Sweetpea fanny bumped down the steps at a ski lodge.

Bannie is showing a strong tendency to leave her feet unexpectedly. She skidded on a toy, did a scissor kick, banged into the wall and broke her arm. Then, she came down the church steps on her knees. Then she tumbled and rolled down the aisle at a funeral ( a holly roller) nearly “clipping” the two men in front of her.

Lo fell head first into her goldfish pool and tripped over the vacuum cleaner cord while chasing a lizard and tore up her knee.

Lil was going into the house one night with a gallon of milk in tow.

She got off balance and fell backwards off the steps, landed on her back in the pool of spilled milk.

First milk bath she’d ever had.

And there are those whose names I dare not mention but I can’t talk about falls without mentioning their feats.

One slipped on a wet floor in a restaurant restroom and came to rest with her feet tangled with the lady’s in an “occupied” stall.

Another slipped on the escalator and ended up with the two ladies in front of her on her lap. Yet another fell at the grocery store and the door closed on her and squeezed her in prone position. She couldn’t get up or out.

Yep. Mama was right.

Old folks can’t seem to walk upright on two legs.

So, they just ought to stay at home.