Winter is Here

Snow fell from the sky last week.

Winter has come to Kansas.

I’m hoping for a mild winter this year. No ice storms, please. I hate those things.

When we get an ice storm Karen, that's my wife, begs me to stay home, citing the unsafe driving conditions. I, on the other hand, want to go to work for no other reason than to show that I can make it in. Yeah, I know it’s stupid.

The only reason I would even want to stay home during an ice storm would be to avoid repeating the incident I had in the winter of 2005.

Do you not know of the incident?

On the morning of Wednesday, January the 12th, in the year 2005, at around 6:30 AM Central time, following an ice storm which had lasted all the day and night before, I stepped out onto my front porch and began to descend the stairs where I promptly slipped and fell upon my butt, slid onto my back, and glided out into the middle of the yard.

I can still remember standing there at the top of the porch, looking down upon the icy step before me and thinking: I can make it. I can do this.

Karen came out, having felt the earth shake when my large body landed upon the frozen ground, and in all her glorious wisdom, spread kitty litter and throw rugs on the steps so that she could safely come out and get me and bring me back inside.

Why didn’t I think of the kitty litter and throw rugs?

Furthermore, why didn’t I think of leaving out the back door which just opens out onto the back yard? There aren’t any steps out there.

But no, I didn’t think of any of that. Instead, I looked at two wooden steps, coated in ice, and decided to give it a try. So I gingerly moved out onto the top step of the porch, put my weight down on the foot that was placed upon yon icy step, and proceeded to slip, bust my fanny on the second step, and soon found myself on my back in the middle of the yard.

Of course, as soon as my ponderous posterior made contact with the second step, I felt my spine compact, and my back just hasn't been the same. I still have problems to this day. Not as much as I did during the first year or so after, but my back has its moments.

I never did go to work that day. Instead I spent the day lying on the couch watching Regis and Kelly, the View, and Starting Over. I didn’t really want to watch those shows, but that’s what Karen watched each morning, so I really had no choice. Besides, it wasn’t like I could have just gotten up and walked away. I mean I could have, but the pain that walking would cause my back would have been worse than the pain of watching the ladies on the View argue.

Karen made it up to me however. Once all of her shows were over she let me watch Spider-Man 2.

I sometimes think back to that morning and picture myself lying alone out there on the frozen grass . . . on my back . . . spinning slightly as I looked up to see nothing but the blue of the sky, the white of the clouds, and the mist that was my breath. I remember how quiet it was around me as I tried to recapture the breath that had been pulled from my chest when my buttocks met that step. It was a silence that made my agonizing breaths sound like thunder. Even in my pain I could sense the stillness in that morning. It was a stillness that seemed to last forever, filling me with a sense of such emptiness that for a time I felt that I was all alone in the world. There was something almost calming about that. It was an oddly reassuring feeling that was at the same time, quite frightening.

I often wonder how many of my neighbors came to their windows when they heard the booming crash that my substantial hind end made as it struck that second step.

Did they rush to their windows and doors to look out and see me floundering on my back in the middle of the yard, like a giant fat turtle wriggling about on the back of its shell?

Did they hear my moans of pain and my short gasps for breath?

Did they?

Or was I truly alone there for a time that morning?

I do often wonder about that.

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