Crow's-Feet Chronicles: All injuries are not in 'vain'
By Cindy Baker Burnett
Jan 1, 2018
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Years back, Lanny Joe and I decided to let the rookies have the roads on New Year’s Eve and spend a quiet evening watching rental movies. As we waited for our pizza-to-go, we looked at each other and I said, “Aren’t we fun?” 

It was amusing, even embarrassing, to look around at other couples who were hiding their faces and waiting on their pizzas. How sad it is to think that Ben-Gay, toenail clippers, and a good movie are ideal ingredients for a spine-thrilling New Year’s Eve gala. 

I wasn’t about to let that year's balmy weather knock us out of a fire in the fireplace. So, we cranked up the air conditioner and built a cozy fire. And, just as Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman were rolling their car over the embankment and into the water in “High Crimes”, the phone rang. 

Lanny’s elderly mother Mildred had fallen in the bathroom and hit her head. She hated to bother us on New Year’s Eve, but she got no answer when she called 119! 

Lanny Joe and I quickly doused the fire, put the movie on pause, and jumped in the car.   The trip through the automatic doors to the hospital’s emergency room was one of many that evening. 

Being a lady of poise and pride, Mildred wasn’t about to be admitted to a hospital wearing her old robe---She sent me running to her house to get her new red Christmas robe. 

Just as I entered the hospital with the robe she requested, she sighed, “Oh, Cindy, I wished I had told you to get my pearl ear screws.” 

“Do you think they’re really necessary, Mother?” inquired Lanny Joe innocently. 

“Go to your room!” she barked at Lanny in her schoolteacher tone. Looking at me sweetly, she purred, “Cindy, would you mind ever so much running back to my house and getting my earbobs?” 

I ran back outside, dodging the walking-wounded victims of careless fireworks, who were being brought in through the emergency entrance. I prayed I wouldn’t see anybody I knew because in my haste to find shoes to wear with my jogging suit, I opened a dark closet and later discovered that I had jumped into my rhinestone party shoes. Aauugghh! 

Out of breath, I ran back into the hospital with Mildred’s earrings. “Cindy, I can’t wear this peach nail polish with this red robe. Would you mind . . . ?” 

Sarcastically, Lanny Joe observed her bloodstained pillow and offered, “But, Mother, your polish matches the new copper highlights in your hair.” Mildred pursed her lips. 

Once again, I sprinted through the emergency room doors, only to collide with a stretcher carrying a maimed, but happy, drunk. “Oh, I’m sorry.” I said. 

“Thash okay. I’m jush here fo uh fwee eshtimate . . .estimash . . . oh, you know what I mean!. Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!” (I knew he wouldn’t need painkillers for a while.) 

After examining Mildred, the doctor ignored her and proceeded to give Lanny Joe his evaluation. Mildred, a spunky retired schoolteacher, interrupted and said, “Doctor, do you do crossword puzzles?” “Yes, I do,” he replied. She then asked, “Do you do them with pencil or pen?” “Why, with a pencil,” replied the doctor. “Well, I do mine with a pen,” said Mildred. “So you can talk to me.” 

She agreed to stitches, but she refused to allow even one of her blue hairs to be snipped. This proved to be quite a challenge for the medical profession, but a teacher’s wrath can prompt untapped resources of creativity. 

Lanny and I sat in the waiting room while Mildred’s head was being sewn up, and we chuckled with our assessment that she should get the New Year’s Day headache-of-the-year award. 

At the stroke of midnight, Lanny hugged me and said, “Happy New Year, Cindy. Now . . . one of us needs to go back to the movie and find out if they got out of that car!”