Crow's-Feet Chronicles: Groin groin gone
By Cindy Baker Burnett
Jun 26, 2017
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I am a fairly new septuagenarian, but I should have known better. But I made the mistake of bragging to my granddaughter that I did cartwheels when I was young, and she wouldn’t let it go. She. wouldn’t. let. it. go.

“Do a cartwheel, Mimi. C’mon, you can do it. Please? Prove that you can still do one.” Challenging me---that’s what she was doing. She was challenging me.

I had been watching Blair do round-off back handsprings (a form of cheerleader hari-kari) for about 45 minutes while I sat in a rocking lawn chair in my backyard. My energy level had maxed out using my head in a push-and-pull motion to keep the rocker rocking. And she wanted me to stand up? I don’t think so.

“You can’t do one. Nanny nanny boo boo. Mimi can’t do cartwheels.” I stood up.

Had it really been over 50 years since I was doing multiple cartwheels? One big difference between cheerleading then and now is fabric. Back in the 60s our uniforms weren’t stretchy. More often than not, we had zipper closures, topped with Mother of Pearl buttons. Our moms made our cheerleader outfits, and I’m sure I sucked in my stomach when Mama measured my waist. Game night meant that cheers, stunts (by today’s standards…not so much), and cartwheels canceled out the waistband. The first thing to go every Friday, after we ran the boys onto the field, was the top button of my skirt. It always exploded and ripped through the air with such violent force that it could have easily put out a player’s eye.

At that very moment in my backyard, though, my waistband was the least of my worries. I looked down from my 5’4” height (I used to be 10 feet tall and bullet proof) to the grass below. Remembering, the cartwheel seemed very fluid---a hand-hand-foot-foot sweep. It was all coming back to me . . . in my head. All I had to do was throw my body weight onto my wrists on the grass and let my legs swing up and over in a fan motion.

I extended my arms straight over my head. Then I dropped them so I could push back all of the lawn furniture, potted plants, and yard toys. I raised my arms again. Then I dropped them and suggested to Blair that we go inside and get some chocolate cake. She wouldn’t hear of it.

I just wanted it to be over and to salvage some respect from Blair. I slung my upper body sideways and planted my hands in the grass. Ouch! By then it was too late---I had already told my legs that we were leaving. I know; I know---my legs were supposed to be straight in the air in a V-shape. I don’t know where they went. But straight? Hardly. Rather than a cartwheel, it could be named a grand sling, since it looked like a grandmother slinging a sack of garbage from a moving vehicle. The V-shape was more like bowtie pasta . . . uncooked and broken. After cratering, I laid in a fetal position in the Bermuda grass, wondering how to apply an ice pack to my pulled groin muscle. Since I’m neither a photographed nude duchess nor a YouTube singing sensation, I figure a video of my stunt wouldn’t raise a nickel.

And it’ll be a while before I can raise my leg.