The chill in the outside air was not enough to make its way into the shop in the Jacksons’ yard, where Andrew sat alone, sipping warm coffee and contemplating the state of his universe. Over all, the state of the universe seemed acceptable. The unusually warm weather in September had allowed the Jacksons to not only complete the harvest, but to bring in a crop considerably better than expected. He was feeling so relaxed and pleased the sound of the front door slamming and the panicked voice of his daughter Jennifer startled him to the point that he spilled a good deal of coffee on his leg.
“Dad! Where are you?” Jennifer was running for the shop as fast as she could possibly go, but Andrew was out of the door and heading toward her before she was halfway across the yard.
“What? What’s wrong?” The expression on Jennifer’s face sent a surge of adrenaline through Andrew’s body.
“It’s Mom!” Jennifer was out of breath. “She had an accident with the blender!” She turned as she spoke and ran with Andrew back towards the house.
The two of them burst into the house to find Rose sitting very quietly at the kitchen table supporting her right arm gingerly with her left hand, her blouse soaked in red.
Rose didn’t move when she spoke. “It’s just strawberries,” she said.
Andrew stood speechless, surveying the kitchen. A chair lay on its side on the floor and next to the chair the broken remains of a blender lay in pieces in the middle a large lake of strawberry liquid. Andrew reached instinctively for the overturned chair.
“I think it’s broken,” said Rose.
Andrew set the chair upright. “Seems OK,” he said.
“Not the chair,” said Rose. “My arm.” Andrew blinked and found himself suddenly focused. He was keenly aware in that moment of his wife’s paleness, the clench of her jaw and the obvious pain she was in.
“OK,” he said. “Tell me what happened. Let’s get you to the emergency room. Can you move?”
Rose grimaced. “Not yet,” she said. “Just let me sit for a minute.” She closed her eyes for a few seconds then opened them again, staring at the wall.
“I put the strawberries in,” she said, “and I turned the blender on, and when I turned away my fingers got tangled in the cord and I pulled the blender right off the counter so I reached back quickly to try to catch it but my foot hit the chair and I lost my balance and knocked the chair over and then I fell on top of the chair but my arm went between the back slats and I heard something snap and I thought I had broken the chair but pretty quickly I figured out that it shouldn’t hurt that much to break a chair.”
Jennifer stood beside her father, a tear trickling down her cheek. Andrew looked at her then took a step toward Rose.
“Don’t touch me!” said Rose through clenched teeth. “Take Jennifer over to the trailer. She can stay with Jackie while you take me to the hospital.” Andrew stepped back. “Just go!” said Rose. “I’ll be ready to move when you get back.”
“OK.” Andrew turned quickly. “Let’s go, Jenn,” he said and the two of them hurried back outside and across the yard. Andrew put his arm around his daughter’s shoulders as they walked and gave her a squeeze. “It’s OK,” he said. “Don’t cry. Mom will be fine. She’s tough, you know.”
“I know,” said Jennifer through her tears. “I can’t help it.” They were on the steps of the trailer when the door opened.
“I saw you coming,” said Jackie from inside. “What’s wrong?”
“No time,” said Andrew, “I gotta run,” and he turned and did just that.
Jackie looked at Jennifer. “You OK?” she asked.
Jennifer wiped her eyes with her sleeve. “Mom broke her arm,” she said, “in a blender accident.”
“Oh my God!” said Jackie. “That’s not funny!” The two of them stood there for a moment.
“It sounds a bit funny when I say it that way,” said Jennifer with a sniff that turned into the smallest of laughs. “It was just such a shock,” she added.
“What can I do?” asked Jackie kindly. “Could you help me clean up the
kitchen? It’s a mess.” Jennifer sounded a little more like herself.
“Sure thing,” said Jackie. “Let me get Allison and then we’ll go over.”
“Thanks,” said Jennifer. “I just don’t want to do it by myself.”
Jackie smiled. “No problem,” she said. “That’s what sisters are for.”
– Don’t miss Rollin Penner and the Traveling Medicine Show in concert, Oct. 9 at 7:30
p. m. at the SRSS Theatre in Steinbach. Visit thetravelingmedicineshow.comfor details.