Published On: January 10, 2013

You know those stories? The ones that end ‘and the doctor says with physical therapy I’ll be good as new in six months,’ or ‘but luckily, the lawyer got me off with just community service,’ or ‘so as long as I never go back to El Salvador, everything should be just fine?’  Have you noticed they all have something in common?  They’ve all got a moment when the story teller pauses and says ‘that’s the moment it all went wrong.’  I’m convinced that part of living to a ripe old age is learning to recognize those moments as they approach, rather than as they go whizzing past.  I did that yesterday.

I’ve been working on a little mitt, and it was at a good point to snap a picture to show to you lovely folks.  So I grabbed Millicent, the knitting, and the camera and headed out into the yard.  I set Millie, all decked out in the latest knitting, on a fencepost and snapped a few shots.  I was making an adjustment to my camera when I heard a dull thud.  I knew what it was before I looked up.

Millie had gone over the fence.

Now, to understand the full import of this, you need to know something about our lot.  Our property actually extends a good 10 or 15 feet beyond our back fence.  That area is at a tremendously steep angle though (really the only thing holding it up is habit and a carpet of ivy), and it is more or less unusable.  The only way to get to it is to go into our neighbor’s back yard, shimmy behind her garage, and creep along, clinging to the trees and brambles for dear life.  So when Millie fell of the chest-high fence, she actually fell down about 8 feet before she hit.  The ground is that steep.

I said a variety of very unladylike things, then leaned as far as I could over the fence (holding very tightly to my camera) and snapped a picture.  Alas, it in no way portrays the vast distance between me and Millie.  I could just barely reach her with a broom handle (yes, that is a strand of yarn trailing up from our fallen friend, the yarn never broke through all this, though it wasn’t strong enough to pull her back).

So, having lost Millie (and documented the incident for posterity), I decided to mount a rescue expedition.  I was in my pajamas.  I had not put on a coat.  I had put the kettle on for tea before I headed out to grab pics.  Somewhat to my credit, I did actually decide to stop and take a moment before I went shimmying behind buildings on steep, snow-covered hillsides.  I turned off the kettle, and texted The Boy to inform him of the situation.  Then I went in.  I got about 10 steps behind the garage when I decided this was A Bad Idea.  A Very Bad Idea Indeed.  I tried coming in from the other side, behind the other neighbor’s garage.  This was A Much Worse Idea.  I considered walking down the hill and around the block to get to the house whose back yard runs into ours and scaling the hill directly, but that seemed equally unlikely to end in success.

I retreated inside to reassess (and warm up, I was still not wearing a coat).  I texted The Boy and explained the situation in more detail.  Millie was down.  She’d taken a very expensive skein of yarn, a lovely set of needles, and a good 5 hours of my knitting with her.  The situation appeared fairly stable, except that the knitting seemed to be sitting on a pile of soggy, moldering leaves which I feared would stain it.  I was uncertain of the best way to rescue her without dying in the process.

Now The Boy, wonderful person that he is, did not in any way question the necessity of a rescue mission.  Once he heard about the stain potential of the leaves, he didn’t even question the need for a quick rescue mission.  His only qualm concerned who would mount this rescue mission.  He leapt into action, dashed home early from work, scampered nimbly behind the garage (he’s a bit better at negotiating perilous inclines than am I), and rescued Millie.

She and the knitting were damp and covered in a bit of leaf debris, but it was nothing a quick rinse wouldn’t cure.  And I, I can take comfort in having recognized one of those moments where things had great potential to go pear shaped (I might still by lying unconscious in the snow while the kettle boiled itself dry) and acting appropriately…even if it did mean calling The Boy to rescue the knitting.  And The Boy? The Boy has excellent good karma points having both rescued a damsel in distress (Millie) and prevented me from meeting and untimely demise, all while keeping a straight face and not at any point suggesting that this was a bit ridiculous.

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