If You Fall, I'll Be There

JUST CALL ME GRACE

I have been one with the floor before. Okay, more than once. It’s that damn inanimate objects conspiracy. You have to watch those little buggers. They jump out at you. Cabinet knobs snag your pockets. Doorknobs grab your purse strap, jerk you back as you walk by. Chair legs, table legs, bed posts, sidewalk curbs jump out or up to trip you while you’re minding your own business. Then they sit there smirking, like they didn’t do it.

One time, years ago, I fell in a grocery store parking lot in West Nashville. I’d just returned my shopping cart to the store front and headed back toward my car. I happened to walk down the handicap ramp to the parking area and slipped on an oil slick where someone had used it as a parking space. Suddenly I pitched forward and fell so far and wide, it was like a three-minute fall before flying squirrel Martha met the pavement. Thank God I had on jeans.

My body was so awry, with legs one way and arms another, I had to think for a minute to figure out what to move first to be able to get up. But before I could, I heard this man with a strong speech impediment say to me, “Are you alright??” I turned my head and looked up. There was this handicapped fellow standing over me. He had rushed to my side to make sure I was okay.

When I looked at him and saw what shape he was in, all I could say was, “Oh, no, thank you. I’m fine. I am absolutely fine.” I’m sure splayed out like that on the pavement, I didn’t look fine, but he took my word for it and went on his way. And I was fine. I pulled myself up and headed back to my car. Meanwhile I noticed two men standing by the store, who had watched the whole thing and not bothered to move. I limped for several days, had my ankles x-rayed to make sure there was no fracture. But, my God, all things in perspective, I really was fine.

And, in most things, I am fine. I will always best those inanimate objects because what I know is that I am lucky. I know what to be thankful for. I have nothing to complain about compared to that sweet fellow that rushed to help me. And besides, they do say, the klutzier you are off stage, the more talented you are on. Let’s hope so because, well, you know, just call me Grace. – by Martha Hannah