We have usually managed to have special family time during the beginning of summer, camping trips or picnics, some kind of group activity. This year is already different, and not for the better. Toward the end of June, we had some major repair work done on the house but Ken planned to do some of the finish cosmetics himself. Since he always has and done it very well I wasn’t surprised., but we did agree he wouldn’t climb a ladder to do the work anymore. On a warm morning when he’d been painting, I went out to suggest lunch. He was already heading in but wearing a lot of dirt and bark on one side.

He said he’d leaned over to clip a branch off a miniature rose bush and woke up face down on the ground. I helped him brush off and we both went inside. He didn’t do much the rest of the day but didn’t complain either. The next morning it was obvious he was in terrible pain so we decided I should drive him to the nearby Urgent Care facility. We didn’t have a very long wait and the exam and X rays showed six broken ribs and a punctured lung. Hard to imagine a man falling face forward on the dirt doing that much damage to himself.

There was a ladder leaning against that wall but he said he wasn’t on it. He’s an honest man but the question still floated around all the days he was in the hospital and later while he was in the rehabilitation center. Even during the family gathering, more ten days after the fall. The question of HOW was still present but not voiced. It must have been puzzling him too because, just as he was heading his walker toward the bed room for the night he said, “I fell on my tool belt.”

Of course he did: it would have been loaded with a hammer, screwdrivers, scrapers, all the hand tools a repair man might need. He would never begin a job without putting it on. He’d just taken it off and left it on the bench with the other tools he’d been using before I got out to meet him.

Strange how all of us in the family, who know each other so well and think we pay attention could miss the obvious. I want to think that, if I had been writing a story including a man doing house repairs, I would remember to include a tool belt but I’m not sure I would have.

Obviously I’m not nearly as observant as I thought I was.

I’m now going to make taking notice of the dress and accessories of the people around me that give clues to who they are my writing project of the month. Obviously I haven’t paid enough attention.

Given where we’re living now, it could include studying landscapers or other contractors as well as residents and what little dog they are walking or kind of packages they’re carrying, even who they walk or visit with. It’s good I don’t try to write mysteries, I would probably miss all the clues to lead the reader to the villain.

Copyright Jo-Brew 2017

Author of OREGON'S MAIN STREET: U.S.HIGHWAY 99, The Stories
Co Author of OREGON'S MAIN STREET: U.S. HIGHWAY 99, The Folk History

No portion of this column may be reprinted without permission.

Current WorksReviewsBlogEventsOn the Shelf
About Jo-BrewFeedbackEssayLinks

© 2013 Jo-Brew