Cole is fascinated by war stories.
Both the real, historical type of documentaries and the type that entail his father as a boy.
Boy war stories, where usually a tree, pole or the sidewalk were the victors.
By the time his daddy was his age, Lamar had already suffered numerous concussions.
Lamar once had a gushing head wound.
Instead of being taken to the doctor, he was put in the bath tub so he wouldn’t bleed out on the carpet.
I get that – carpet is never truly clean. And it was white, so a protein stain like blood would be a colossal pain.
Then there was the time he was knocked unconscious and put in the tub again. I guess back then, the tub was the answer for every head injury.
I have said if I can keep Cole from having half the accidents his father did, I will be a glowing success.
Cole had a brief moment where he wanted a skateboard.
“Daddy had one,” was his argument.
“Go ask Daddy about his experience with it,” was my comeback.
He had a story about a broken collar bone to share.
Cole decided maybe he didn’t need a skate board after all.
My child can’t fathom that these are just some of the reasons that I am hyper-vigilant about his safety.
At one point, I had actually considered making him wear a helmet at all times. He was a toddler that crash landed into furniture. Or laundry baskets filled with clothes that needed to be folded thusly reinforcing my theory laundry didn’t need to be put away immediately.
My childhood was relatively unscathed, but I did have a near death experience once.
I had a few brushes with harm and scary situations. Usually it involved eating too much. Let me just say this, catfish, watermelon and ice cream all in the same August day makes one for sick chubby kid.
But my near death experience came from finding out I am deathly allergic to bees.
I told Mama the bee sting felt funny. Mama didn’t look up from her Virginia Slim and crossword puzzle long enough to notice I was already all swollen up.
“Go lie down,” was all she said.
She may have offered a Twinkie to make it feel better; back then, Twinkies were my cure -all, like wine and cheesecake are now.
I’m not sure how long it was before I was barely breathing but I do remember Granny having a wreck with the pharmacist on the way to the emergency room.
I thought for sure I was going to die. Who was going to give me anti-bee venom if she killed the pharmacist from Eckerd’s?
Amazing, I survived only to have Mama constantly ask me if I have Benadryl with me.
It may not have been as sensational as a gushing head wound, but I did cut my leg wide open once.
Being clumsy as I am, I had tripped and cut my shin. I didn’t realize I had been cut until Granny asked why I was wearing one red sock and one white. The last thing I remember about that was my blood curdling scream and the scar I still have.
I think I was more upset about my shoes getting messed up; even then, I had a thing about shoes.
“Anything else happen to you? That maybe put you in imminent danger,” my child wanted to know.
Honestly, my mother would have put me in a bubble like that kid in that horrible John Travolta movie if she could. As a parent, I am grateful and can understand, but as a child, she was a major joy-kill.
“Well, I did call the police on your Nennie once,” I said.
His eyes widened. “You did? Why?”
It was a deed every child had done – jumping on the bed. Except this little monkey fell off and bonked her head. Three times in a row. And each time, Mama rushed me to the emergency room to make sure I didn’t have some kind of internal bleeding on the brain.
If she took me to the emergency room that often now it would look suspicious, but I am fairly certain the nurses referred to her as “The Hysterical Over-reacting Redhead.”
“You called the po-po because she took you to the emergency room?” Cole asked.
After the third trip to the hospital, Mama told me, Virginia Slim held high in the air to not “jump on that bed ever again,” as she pointed to her bed. I promised I wouldn’t.
And I didn’t.
I was jumping on Granny’s guest bed, lace curtains in hand, cowgirl hat and boots on, as I called, “High Ho Silver, away!” while I held on to my stick horse.
Mama yanked me down, popped me solidly on my tater and sent me on my way.
I snuck into Granny’s bedroom and pulled down the old big, heavy black phone. One ringy-dingy later, I had an operator on the line.
“I need the po-leese,” I whispered. “What is your emergency?” the operater asked.
“I am being beaten within an inch of my life,” I said. This prompted the operator to want more info: What had happened, was I hurt, did I feel like my life was in danger?
As Mama pushed on the door, demanding to know what I was doing, I told the operator, “Oh, yes! It is!”
Mama was able to convince the operator everything was fine – she explained how the doctors practically knew me by the x-rays of my head – but assured her I was going to get an earnest whooping afterwards.
“Did Nennie spank you hard?” Cole asked.
Boy, she was mad. But she didn’t. She couldn’t.
I had made her laugh, and that’s probably why I lived to tell about it.