Thursday, January 14, 2010

Life On Crutches, Part Three, continued

As I said at the end of my previous post on this series, we were staying with a friend (and her two brothers) in a large house in Atherton, owned by her parents, while her parents were away in Europe. We had been staying there perhaps a week when Labor Day rolled around, as it does every year, in the beginning of September.

Jim and I were avid folk dancers; this is in fact the way we met. Our friend, the same friend who was letting us build an illegal cabin on his property, had folk dance parties each Memorial Day and Labor Day on the large deck he had built (with a little help from his friends) by the creek that ran through the property. His folk dancing friends camped out on the property overnight, but in our case, we had a roof over our head up at our cabin-in-process, even if it was not quite finished. These parties were events we didn't like to miss, even on crutches. By this time, eight months after busting my leg, I was able to use only one crutch and bend my left knee to a reasonable degree, which made it possible for me to drive. So, Jim and I went up to our friend's annual Labor Day folk dance fest, in separate cars, so I could drive home at the end of the day and "plug in".

When I returned to the boxy pink Atherton house, I stopped the car in the gravel driveway, grabbed my baby backpack, got Sean out from his car seat and into the backpack, and put the backpack on my back. Then I grabbed my daypack from the car and walked up to the house, baby on back, one crutch under my arm, daypack in my other hand, to unlock the door and let myself into the house. When I went to the front door, I saw something a little odd. The front door was floor to ceiling glass, in the style of wood-paned French doors, and a few feet inside the door, in the middle of the hard wood floored entryway, a dining room chair was sitting, all by itself. Quite odd. I really didn't know what to make of it, but two teenage boys were staying in the house with us; I thought perhaps it was some kind of joke.

I opened the door, let myself in, put down my daypack, and went back to the car for a few more things. I grabbed another item from the car in my left hand, crutch clutched by my right, Sean still on my back and had just turned to go inside the house when I heard a loud voice booming from behind me, "Freeze!!!" I stopped dead in my tracks. When they finally allowed me to turn around, I saw three police officers, their arms raised in the air, legs firmly planted on the ground in that wide legged stance they must teach you in officer training school, each with a pistol aimed directly at me, the supposed burglar. It must have been comical sight to see, had anyone been watching. A young woman, on crutches, with a baby on her back, taking some very valuable camping clothes, leftover food and baby paraphanelia from my car INTO the house, with not one, but THREE police officers pointing their guns at me. Yes, it must have been a story the officers were planning to tell their grandchildren, about that dangerous Labor Day robbery in Atherton.

After a few questions, and a more rational look at the scene unfolding before them, the officers not only let me into the house, but helped me carry the rest of my belongings inside. I found out later, when Eleanor and her brothers came back from their own separate Labor Day adventures, that the chair in the entryway was the family's secret signal to each other that the alarm system had been turned on. The problem was, no one had clued me in.

I think that ends the story of my life on crutches, at least the more exciting parts of it. We continued our stay in Atherton without further event, my leg eventually healed, and Jim and I and Sean moved out of town, up into the hills, into our small but cozy cabin, with a view overlooking the valley and the creek running through it, a wonderful place to live and a magical place to raise a child.


  1. I feel bad for you, but still had to chuckle at the enthusiasm of the cops!

  2. Thanks Otin, for being a continuing reader of my blog page. Its really nice to get comments and know that someone is actually reading what you write!!