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Sprinkler

April 21, 2011

Growing up, the first days of summer were wonderful every year. Even now the sunny days call to me and I miss them, but just a bit. With this year’s summer days on the horizon, I want to talk about Aunt Cindy’s teeth—and how she almost lost them.

Kids often forget to think. Also often, Dads watching over kids (when not accustomed to it) don’t think to think. And sometimes, when the skies are blue and the sun is shining for the first time in who knows how long, that lack of thinking can lead to busted heads, smashed faces, lost teeth, and general confusion.

The lawn sprinkler can be one of the most dangerous pieces of equipment in the garage and should never be used as a babysitter. If a lawn sprinkler is ever used to entertain and cool children, a caregiver must guide his young charges through safety rules, or at least ONE RULE: run in the same direction. He could say something like,

Run and jump over the sprinkler from one direction. One. From the sidewalk near the road, through the sprinkler, and past the back door. Then go back to the sidewalk near the road and begin again.

He should help the children to remember to never, under any circumstances, run at the sprinkler from opposite directions. Never.

My siblings and I were running through the sprinkler one hot summer Sunday while Grandma Beanie was out shopping and Grandpa John was holding down the fort. In what was to become the last sprinkler run of the day, Aunt Cindy (age 9) and I (age 6) ran toward the sprinkler, heads down and ready to leap through the cooling spray. From opposite directions. We both leaped at the same moment, and as it turned out, into the same space.

My head hit her mouth with the force of both of our leaps. She lost four teeth (almost, they were hanging by virtually nothing at all) and I got a great big bump on my head. We both fell to the ground, Cindy bleeding and talking funny; I was just stunned.

Grandpa John carried Cindy to the couch in the family room where she continued to talk funny, not only because she was bleeding and her teeth were hanging out of her mouth, but because the impact of her face to my head seemed to have knocked something loose in her brain, too. The funny talk cleared up quickly enough, but the problem of the hanging teeth remained. Grandpa John had no idea of what to do. It seemed like a dental problem, but dentists aren’t in their offices on Sunday. That was a problem.

Grandpa John was a great caregiver and usually kept the fort running smoothly. A serious accident had never occurred during his watch, so it was new to him. He thought the best thing to do was to find Grandma Beanie. He called a number of stores until he located her and she was paged to come to the phone. He explained what had happened and Grandma Beanie came home right away. She took Cindy to the emergency room at the hospital while Grandpa John held down the fort.

An orthodontist at the hospital shoved Cindy’s teeth back into her head and applied braces that she wore for about six months. She had to slurp soup through a straw for a while and was very unhappy with me. About everything. For a long time.

So let’s be careful out there.

**** 4/22/2011 – Something occurred to me about this incident with regard to our discussion a couple of weeks ago about my forgetting—completely—most of first grade. This incident was the first of two major blows to the head I had that year. What do you think? Could those two knocks to the noggin’ have caused the mental blank? Maybe I could blame those two blows for all of the stupid decisions I have ever made! Wouldn’t that be nice? ****

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3 comments

  1. That was quite an enjoyable read! I remember back before everyone worried so much about every little thing, and kids wore padding and helmets when they did anything outdoors. :-)

    That was back when kids were left to their own devices, told to get outside and don’t come back ’till dinner was ready. Yeah, damage was done, bones were broken and as you mentioned, teeth were lost. You know…. simpler times. :-)


  2. All I can say is ouch. That sounds painful for both!



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