Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Falling Ain't What it Used to Be

I’m back. Sorry for the absence but I didn’t have any words or thoughts about which to write a blob. I was writing work related stuff and I think I left all my words in other files. When I got up this morning I lost my footing, knocked over a glass of water and caught myself right before I landed on the floor. It started me thinking that it used to be funny when I saw people fall. It was always hard to not laugh because there was really nothing else I could do. I mean after the fall I could rush over and try to help them get up but during the actual fall it was impossible to be at all helpful so whether it was a nervous reaction or a lack of control, I usually laughed.

My Aunts were particularly talented fallers. I remember there was one occasion when my cousin Honey and I were walking along with Aunt Sophie. We were busy talking when we noticed Aunt Sophie was no longer participating in the conversation. We slowly turned around and saw that she had fallen into a hole in the middle of the street. She was still holding a whole bag of groceries—and it was clear that during her fall she had not allowed any food to touch the ground.

Falling with food is the best. One New Years Eve, Tina and I were at Honey’s to celebrate. The house was a 1960 split level, so when you entered there were stairs going up and down. Down was to the playroom—not an underground basement -- and up led to the kitchen and living space. Tina and I were sitting upstairs. Most of the celebration was ensuing on the lower level. Joyce, a long time friend of Honey’s was upstairs in the kitchen loading a tray with nibbles. She walked out of the kitchen with food piled almost as high as her face. She took two steps down the stairs, lost her balance and went, touchas first, down the first flight of stairs. The amazing thing about the fall was that she seemed to care more about the tray of food than regaining her balance or saving herself from a painful recovery. We jumped up and raced to the stairs shouting ‘ooh ooh ooh’ and maybe ‘oh!’ We attempted not to laugh, but it was nearly impossible. When finally she landed and we thought we could help her up, all she said was, “food first, please.”

My Aunt Peppy was preparing for lunch in the Succoth one cool Fall day. My Aunt and Uncle actually built a Succoth every year and they used it for meals and prayer. The Succoth was in the backyard right in back of the kitchen, so Aunt Peppy went inside to get meal out of the oven to serve to the guests awaiting this annual extra special treat. I watched as she quickly placed the Chaluptchas (rolled cabbage) on a platter, turned and started back outside. Her foot must have caught on the carpet or something on the floor and she flew up in the air. She came down much more gracefully than she went up and on her way she managed to catch every piece of cabbage that we all thought would surely hit the floor. Once settled on the ground, she looked around, saw I was there, handed me the tray, got up, took the tray back and went about delivering the meal to the guests. There was little to do but laugh and then go and eat.

My cousin Sheila tells this story about my Aunt Helene. She had taken two Passover Sponge Cakes from the seder in Newburgh. It seems she spent the whole trip talking about how great the damn cakes were going to be. She was very careful about bringing them into the house after the 4 hour trip....one in each hand. When she entered her condo through, at the front door she tripped and the two cakes went flying... as did Aunt Helene. And unbelievable as it was she fell on her knees landed very gently in each sponge cake – which broke her fall. Her biggest concern was would she be able to shape them back into their original form. That was never going to happen, but they all had a great laugh.

Falling down doesn’t seem as amusing as it used to be. I mean, when I see prat falls on old TV shows, I still giggle, but I think it’s only because I know it’s an act. My balance hasn’t been great for years. I stopped tapping about six years ago because when I did any kind of a twirling turn, it usually ended with me looking up at the rest of the class. I used to be able to drink a martini or two at lunch or dinner without any consequences, but now if I only have one I can’t be sure that I will be able to stand upon completion. I mean I now not only understand the concept of falling down drunk—I have lived it. And the worst part is that I’m not even drunk.

Now the idea of a fall makes me shake. I jump up and over my mother when there is any kind of an indication that she’s going to lose her balance and may go down. I did the same with David’s mom when she visited us in Boston over the weekend. I do the same when I see a baby who is unsteady. I think I may be turning into a nervous wreck about the act of starting on ones feet and winding up on ones touchas. Oh where have the good old days gone—when there was nothing better than a good fall to trigger a great laugh. We’re just sayin...Iris

1 comment:

Walter Briggs said...

I agree..falls aren't what they USED to be..Reminds me of the playground days when all the other kids fall, it was hilarious..but not so when I was involved..Guilty as charged,Judge..We're glad you're okay..Take care..that next step is is doozie!