As I mentioned in an earlier blog, and do NOT need to mention to those who know me, I am not exactly graceful. My Uncle Billy always said.."Your worse then a bull in a china closet", and it was true. I was always falling, tripping, banging around, or falling off a horse. It wasn't just accidents like that either. It has always seemed like if something had the remotest possibility of going wrong, screwing up, or backfiring, I was, and still am, somehow involved. It usually turns out OK, and more often then not, funny. Which is good, because frankly, it happens..often. These are just a very small sample of some "Carmen" Bloopers.
Back when Liam was a baby, we got two new kittens. Our older cat, Stink E. Lewis did not like them at all. We tried to gradually introduce them to each other, but one day, Stink chased one of the kittens outside and down across the lawn toward the woods. Brogan who was around 15, Cameron who was 8 and I, carrying baby Liam, walked down back calling the kitten, trying to find her before it got dark. We made it down to the back pasture, with Cameron walking ahead of us, looking through the underbrush for the kitten. Brogan walked on the other side of the clearing, while I brought up the rear.
Suddenly, we heard it. A terrible howling, and the sound of running on the power line that ran parallel to the back pasture where we were searching. We all froze...listening as the howling got louder, and hearing the occasional snap of a branch just through the woods beyond us. " Come back here, Cameron.." I whispered, as he was closest to the power line.
"I can't.." he loudly whispered back to me. I walked in his direction, and stopped near our backhoe that was parked at the edge of the pasture. Brogan came toward me, as we heard howling and rustling getting closer all the time. "Cameron! Come over here!" Brogan said.
"I can't," came Cameron's voice from in the thicket. We could just see the upper half of his chest and his pale, white face. "Why not?" asked Brogan.
" Coyotes! All around me!" came the answer. Well, I had heard enough. There was no way a coyote pack was going to get my oldest son, So, I picked up the biggest stick I could find, passed it to Brogan, and said.."Go save your brother!"
"WHAT?" she asked?? Mom of the Year for 2000 said " I have the baby so I'm going to get up on the backhoe and see if I can see the coyotes!"
Meanwhile, the racket and snapping was right behind where Cameron was standing. Brave Brogan, or as I liked to call her afterwards, "She who fights coyotes to save sweaty pale boy", started to head over toward Cameron, who stood absolutely still. She got closer to Cameron and said.."where are they????" He didn't move..just whispered..." All around me...". I was sitting on the backhoe thinking "Crap, this could be bad!", but what I said was.."Hurry up and grab him!"
Brogan reached out her hand and said quietly.."Take my hand!" You know that old expression, "paralyzed with fear", yep, that was Cam. He didn't move. She said it again, and when he still didn't budge, she reached out and grabbed his hand, holding her stick high in the other fist. She later said it was like grabbing a sweaty, clammy fish. She yanked him out of the thicket, and dragged him out of the woods, toward the backhoe. I passed down the baby, climbed down and we all beat feet back to the house.
Turns out those coyotes..the ones who were "all around" Cameron ,was actually a friend of the family who liked to run her 5 dogs down the power line behind our house, howling like a coyote to get them all excited.
Cameron was never in any danger. I knew that, I just wanted to see how cool Brogan was going to be under pressure. She handled that test just fine.
The backhoe is a handy thing to have on a farm. We love having it to use when we have to spread manure. It is alot easier to scoop up a big bucket load and dump it in the spreader, then to shovel it by hand. One day, we were trying to do our usual 10 jobs at once, and Cliff was stressed. I said.."Go ahead downtown and do what you have to do. We will get everything done, don't worry." I am nothing if not wise. He left to go get parts, and after he left, Brogan and I looked at the spreader and tractor and backhoe in the corral, already to go. I know how to run the back hoe, so I came up with a great idea.
"Hey Bro, " I said, genius as always. "I can run the backhoe, load you up and you can take the tractor out and spread it." "Ok," said game daughter, "lets surprise Cliffy."
So, we headed over to the backhoe and I looked it over. Now, I have to admit, it had been a long time since I had driven it, and I think it either grew taller, or I shrunk, 'cause that first step was a doozy
"Bro..." I said,," Crap. I have my good foot under my bad.." She hurried (sort of..) over and stood behind me. I couldn't see her, but sensed she was trying to keep a straight face. "What am I supposed to do?" she asked. " Well, I don't know..I have to get my good foot on top so I can step up". I was kind of shuffling..leaning across the top of the platform by the seat, which was just a little too high for me reach. Suddenly, I felt this big Whump! She drove her head under my butt. I said.." What the heck are you trying to do??" She replied, " I'm trying to boost you higher so you can lay across the platform! Are you there? Can you pull yourself up the rest of the way??"
Now, I MIGHT have been able to do that, and was concentrating really hard, but then I suddenly started to vibrate, shaking up and down, just ever so slightly. " What are you doing?? Are you laughing???". She was, and once she started, so did I. And then I was helpless to move. So there we stood..I couldn't go higher, or get down..Bro had her head under my butt and was laughing so hard she couldn't move either. Finally, I said "OK! PUSH." She did, I pulled, and dragged myself, good foot and bad, up onto the floor of the backhoe, then climbed up and into the seat. By the time we stopped laughing, Cliff was back from town and I had to climb back down. I don't think we even spread one load. The best part??? My parents live across the field from our house in my grandparents old house, and my mother saw the entire thing through her binoculars. And even better?? She was on the phone, with my cousin in Scotland, who got a play by play account. The story of Brogan's head shoved in my rear was played out on two continents. Ahh, good times.
My arthritic knees played into another blooper moment my son Cameron loves to recall. Cliff, Cameron, Brogan and I were out doing chores on a bitter, Maine winter night. We were out on the frozen tundra, uhh, corral, locking the horses in their stalls for the night. They like to be out of the elements on a frigid night. I had turned to walk back across the corral, when I think I rolled my ankle on a frozen hunk of manure. Suddenly, some weird law of physics occurred, and I somehow starting running, bent over at a ninety degree angle. I am fairly certain if it were not for the side of the barn, I would have continued my run clear down the road to Zenya's house next door. However, the barn was there, and yes, I hit it, going full tilt, bent over at ninety degrees. Everyone asked me later, "Why didn't you just stand up?"
Frankly, I couldn't, and I don't know why. I just hit the side of the barn, and turned around to see everyone staring at me with their mouths open. Which reminds me of a church supper, but that is a different story.