They came into the house chortling like twelve-year-old schoolboys. Peter’s laugh lines were working overtime and Bill, his longtime companion, could barely talk he was chuckling so.
“Good grief, what’s going on?” I asked.
Peter tried to answer, but gave up. He said Bill would have to tell me. “Show her your elbow,” Bill said, pulling at Peter’s sweatered left sleeve.
“No, tell her first,” Peter said, “then I’ll show her.” I couldn’t imagine what was coming.
They’d gone to one of Peter’s favorite restaurants for lunch. At the time, our area was under warning for damaging wind and hail. Schools had closed. Just as Peter opened the door, the wind grabbed it and smashed it into him. His elbow, when I finally got a look at it, had born the brunt — skin peeled back like paint on an old house and blood, lots of blood. The restaurant’s management was upset, of course, and offered to cover any medical expenses and pay for a new shirt. The bright blue butterfly bandage Bill applied to stop the bleeding was the only treatment necessary. Mother Nature should get the bill for a new shirt!
When Bill said he figured I wouldn’t let him take Peter out anymore, we all started laughing. The previous Wednesday, when he took Peter and Nobby for their weekly nursing home visit, through no fault of Bill’s, a resident threw a cup of tomato juice on Peter, thus ending the life of another shirt. And the week before that, another episode occurred that…well, um…will be the subject of another post, another time.
Of course the story of the murderous door wasn’t funny — it could have been way worse — but we laughed and laughed.
After Bill left, I cleaned the fairly large wound, about 3″ x 3″, applied a large dollop of antibiotic cream and a fresh bandage. Peter asked what had happened to his elbow.
For all the laughter and hubbub minutes before, I was gobsmacked that he didn’t remember. “A door tried to take you out,” I said. Later on, I asked if his elbow hurt. “No, why do you ask?” he said.
2016 National Society of Newspaper Columnists’ contest finalist.