Ankle Bone Connected to the…

            Through several big windows at Pete’s cafe, we see the gray sky brighten just a little as rain pours outside this morning.  Four farmers are passing time at a corner table.

            “Boys, the weatherman sure missed this one,” bemoaned Max.  “Say, Duane, do you remember Old Hank and his famous weather forecast?” the old man asked as his beefy calloused hand placed the steaming coffee cup on the table’s white surface.

            “Can’t say as I do, but I’ve heard stories,” replied Duane, hoisting another powdered sugar doughnut to his mouth.

            Jim and Jed both moaned and leaned back a bit.  “Oh, boy, here it comes.”

            “Well, seems Old Hank had a busted big toe, and every time the weather turned bad, he’d whine and carry on about how bad that toe hurt.”  Max slurped his coffee, holding the cup out a little.  “Once back in ’72, that bum toe hurt worse than ever.  He predicted the biggest storm in these parts.  We got forty-seven inches of snow in 18 hours…Then the blizzard hit.”  He flashed his denture-filled smile  and lightly touched the bill of his faded blue cap with his free hand as the others softly laughed.  “And that ain’t all neither.  The worst of it was that the town had to cancel the 4th of July picnic and fireworks that day!”

            Now, the above tale is imaginary, but you’ve no doubt heard similar, less exaggerated accounts from old timers and not-so-old timers.  It looks as though I joined their ranks by being admitted to the “broken bone club” in 2007.  In 47 years I’d never broken a bone before.  That winter I slipped on ice in our driveway and broke my left ankle.  Fortunately, it was a spiral fracture and didn’t require surgery to realign things.  Believe me, I’m counting my blessings.  It was still tough going though.  For six weeks I wore a walking brace that looked like an astronaut’s heavy moon boot and had to get around slowly on crutches.  Several appointments with a physical therapist followed.  My mother-in-law told me to expect the ankle to hurt every time it gets cold.  Actually, I can predict heavy precipitation within a day or two.

            It’s amazing how such an accident changes things.  It was God’s way of slowing me down, and I already thought my life’s pace was plenty slow.  During the worst of it that first few weeks, I sat with my foot propped up and directed traffic as other family members waited on me.  There were so many little tasks I couldn’t perform, or it took too much effort and risk to do them.  My wife kindly helped me with getting in and out of the shower and once gave me a hair cut.  I had to think twice every time I hobbled from one room to the other.  Did I remember everything I needed to do or get while in that room?  Multitasking was out of the question.  Since I’m an intellectual type of guy, I enjoyed getting a great deal of pleasurable reading accomplished, when I wasn’t dozing from fatigue or pain pills.  All in all, the time went by surprisingly fast.

            In some ways, it sounds like a life fit for a king, except for the pain and forced dependence on others.  I had no choice but to accept the additional limitations imposed upon me.  Nonetheless, my family was understanding and helpful.  It’s in such times that a person discovers who really cares.  You know who really loves you and just how much.  The value of a good wife and children is not to be underestimated or taken lightly.

***      James 1:2-4—“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”

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