Friday, February 13, 2009

Daddy, Don’t Get Dead

An incident occurred when we were doing some renovations to the back room of the old house we purchased in 1972. Sheila and I had been doing some work that required a 12-foot ladder to reach some cross beams. Repaired a few times, the ladder remained rickety. With Sheila holding it steady, it seemed safe enough.
On one occasion, she had to attend a meeting with four of our children. I stayed home with our youngest—Sandra. My wife has always has had a foreman’s attitude. Her final instruction to me was not to climb that ladder while she was gone.
Feigning irritation, I said, “I’m not going to climb that ladder!”
As soon as she left, I decided to carefully climb to the top of the ladder, steadying myself with the exposed beams—suspended 15 feet above the floor—and complete the necessary task. It would only take a few minutes, and who would know the difference. Who would tell? A tiny, three-year-old, blonde kid—hardly!
I called out to my small daughter. “Sandra, come in here honey, so Daddy can keep an eye on you. Daddy is going to climb up this little old ladder, and I'll be right back down in just a jiffy!”
I carefully positioned her against the wall, away from the ladder.
“Stand over here, sweetheart, so you'll be safe, just in case this old ladder should make Daddy fall,” I said. I tried to sound confident for her benefit. I began my climb, muttering under my breath, “Ain’t no problem! I'll go up, do my job and come right back down.”
With each step, the wobbly rungs of the rickety ladder caused it to sway. Noticing movement below, I called back down, “Honey, stay over there against the wall! Daddy will be right back down.”
Having reached the pinnacle of my climb without the aid of a safety net below, my confidence began to waver. I began to think the task may be too formidable for me alone. I felt a slight tremor of the ladder. Just after the tremor, the ladder shook violently. At that very moment, I reached for the big overhead beam to support myself. The 12 foot ladder collapsed to the floor. Hanging by one arm, dangling like a chimpanzee fifteen feet above the floor, I suddenly realized something was burning. The hundred watt bulb was pressed against my arm causing my skin to sizzle. I let out a blood-curdling yell. The next thing I heard was the whimpering of my only connection—within miles—to the human race, my very frightened little daughter.
“Daddy, don't get dead!”
Those words burned into my memory, as the hot bulb burned into my arm,
Closing my eyes and saying a silent prayer, I gave in to the science of gravity. Fifteen feet later, I landed with a thud.
Assessing my injuries to be only a bruised ego and a sore body, I pulled myself up, and led my daughter to a room that required no projects.


Pam said...

Enjoyed reading your blog today...I love your stories! Happy Valentine's Day to you and Sheila.

Anonymous said...

Re-Hash is always good.
B crow

Julie said...

Love it, Sam! /jtg