Friday, January 06, 2006


My wife Marie loves to sew, and quilt, and is a believer in the old sewer’s adage, “Whoever has the most fabric when they die wins”. Marie comes up with original and interesting sewn things, pillows and curtains for our 1964 Airstream, quilts for home and newborn grandchildren, specially designed potholders for departing employees, on and on. It’s fun to see what she comes up with. Being driven to creativity myself, I appreciate having a partner whose creative life is abloom. With Marie, beyond sewing, there’s filmmaking, writing, and art. Not to mention her creative flair in the kitchen. But sewing is at the top, I think, as far as level of enjoyment goes, for Marie. I picture her sitting on the couch, at home, or at the beach house we favor in Bandon, Oregon, in her irridescent pink half-glasses, beavering away at some new quilt design, looking up at the TV news only occasionally to catch a view of something she deems newsworthy enough to require her attention. Last summer, as I fished the incoming tide of the Coquille River, she banged out a cute and cuddly quilt for our newest grandchild, Ellery.

Marie’s office, in our home, which doubles as a sewing room, and triples as a fabric warehouse, tends to pile up with all things artistic, and she has recently been designing some new shelving for Ric to build, as soon as we move the couch outa there. This will allow for a much greater degree of organization, so I am all for it. All those scissors, pincushions, and piles of fabric will be much easier to find, and less likely to go astray.
I guess it was about 5 years ago now, while walking through our bedroom, which is a stone’s throw away from Marie’s office, when I stepped on the pincushion. Marie had already left for work that morning, and my caffeine level was not quite yet to 100%, as I moved from the bathroom back into the bedroom, coffee cup in hand, in my blue Seahawks bathrobe, and that’s when it happened. Apparently, the pincushion, the big red one, Marie’s principal pincushion, had wormed it’s way, unbeknownst to it’s primary user, from the sewing table in her office, to the bedroom floor, smack dab in the middle of the bedroom walking pattern. Suddenly, with nary a glimpse of forewarning, the southernmost point of my body, the ball of my left foot, just past the toes, propelled by my strappin’ 200 pound frame, slammed down on that prickly cushion, pin points facing up.
Maybe you can visualize the moment, that split second, before I reacted to the pain, as I stood in my robe, after just taking a sip of coffee, my cup still inches from my lips, looking straight ahead, my eyes suddenly grown to the size of salad plates.

The pain, then, was immediate, and excruciating, and, though I am generally not lost for words, this time, pretty much indescribable. The coffee went flyin’. I hit the floor.
You hear about people liftin’ cars n’shit, when the time comes for quick emergency action, to save someone, or save oneself. I think I may have been in that zone. I am certain that I didn’t say a word, I was movin’ too fast to yell, or complain. Within a very short amount of time, seconds, I decided to rip that thing off my foot. There was no time to make a considered decision. The decision was already made, somewhere in the depths of the self-preservation section of my right cortex. Get that fucking thing offa me.
This part I can describe, the removal part, which also happened at a rather fast rate of speed, as one might rip off a band-aid, or one of those waxing strips like they use on those hairy guys in movies and on TV. With my right hand, I peeled off the cushion, pin row by pin row, as quickly as I could from its imbedment, and as I did, and I swear to you this is the truth, and you can go ahead and try it if you don’t believe me, it sounded, and felt, as it released from my foot, exactly like Velcro.

There was very little blood, I dunno why, maybe cuz the pins are so thin, and the second I got it off, I just fell on my back and laid there, my head flat on the oak floor, for a minute or so. My eyes had filled with water, and I am sure I breathed a major sigh of relief as I grimaced and considered what had just happened. The pain immediately subsided, and as I cleaned up my foot, I was already starting to get into the humor of it, and considering how I might describe the event to Marie, with my tongue in my cheek, and blame her for it.

It was all kinda interesting, I mean the Velcro effect and all, but I hope not to come down full force on another pincushion anytime soon, interesting or not, and experience yet again the kind of pain usually reserved for those on the way to their maker. However, if I get a paper cut in my office, or put a hammer down on my thumb in the basement, or skin my knees in the garden, I am gonna run like hell to my dear wife, my lower lip pursed, for some more a’that pamperin’.

Marie is such a sweet and tender angel of mercy, as evidenced by the massive amounts of love and care she has extended to our son Blaine, with his physical challenges, and she didn’t disappoint when I told her my story, later that day, by expressing sincere and total sympathy for a guy with a thousand holes in his left paw. After her outburst of empathy and kindness, I couldn’t go on with my planned sick charade of incrimination and finger pointing for something that was, of course, just one of those things. I was enjoying the mothering too much.

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Pacific Beach, Washington, United States