Snowed by a Plate


The closest thing to a tank a civilian can buy

In my teens and 20’s, people would remark on my incredible ability to say the worst possible thing at the worst possible time. I couldn’t refute the obvious, so my comment about it was this:

Whoops. I just put both feet in my mouth, chewed vigorously and now I don’t have a leg to stand on.

That, oddly enough, reminded me of the time I broke a really ugly serving platter. The difference? I still had one leg to stand on.

I was in my mid 30’s living in a tri-level home on a 1/2 acre lot. My husband was going blind from diabetes, my oldest child was barely in elementary school and I was irrefutable evidence that God has a rather dark sense of humor (otherwise known as Murphy’s Law).

Anyone who bought cheap stoneware in the early 1980’s will remember the heavy, thick dark brown plates and platters with the off white edges. On a cold winter day, I managed to drop one of those platters, sending splinters of pottery and slices of meat flying all over the kitchen. This is where I learned (or possibly re-learned) one of life’s most enduring lessons: Never underestimate the power of Murphy’s Law.

I’d assumed–after careful examination and cleaning the floor twice with paper towels–that I’d cleaned up all the shards. I walked into the kitchen with heavy sock footies after I’d changed clothing, discovering the hard way that I’d missed a long, jagged piece.

I remember 2 things about that moment.

  • (1) it hurt like hell when it went in and
  • (2) The damned thing was so well lodged in my heel it hurt worse to try to take it out.

So I did what anyone in my situation would do. I started to call the doctor. On a Saturday. Yeah. Right. What about the neighbors? On a Saturday the sane ones were trolling the mall and the crazy ones were on snowmobiles (or ice fishing) in -20 degree weather.

There was a new concept called an urgent care clinic, but it was 20 miles away, forcing me to leave my blind husband to supervise 2 young children (That’s a bit dramatic. In all honesty, the Saturday cartoons were already doing that).

So…I hobbled to the car and used one foot for both the gas and brake. In the Midwest. In the middle of winter. Thank God I had the ultimate in tank-wear: The above pictured Ford Turino Station Wagon that got all of 9 miles to the gallon. Man, that was the best car I ever owned! My BAID.

I was on a country road where the houses were divided by acres when I hit the black ice. The car went off a road 5 feet higher than the houses around it, flying into someone’s yard like a Duke’s of Hazzard stunt. It turned sideways onto powdery snow, gently sliding into the trees that formed a barrier between that neighbors house and the next. Fortunately, it was the passenger side door lodged against the trees.

I hopped through several inches of white powder to the front door of the house, blood dripping onto their snow when I had to put pressure on the injured foot. I knocked on the door and calmly said (something to the effect of)

Hi. That’s my car in your front yard. Could you call AAA for me? Here’s my card. Oh, and could you call this number to tell the doctor I’ll be late?

That had to be quite a sight.

A mere 15 minutes later, the tow truck arrived. I drove the rest of the way to urgent care, calmly explaining the story to a very amused doctor, after which I screamed like a 2 year old as he removed the glass from my foot.

It was almost as bad as the time I was driving my sister’s vespa, flew into a rock pile, fractured my wrist and rode on the back of a Honda 90 to the hospital emergency room because I was too cheap to pay for an ambulance.