Okay, after the morning shower, David’s haircut still looks pretty good. But it’s obvious I’m not ready to go professional.


Looking Good

Major victory today!

I gave David a haircut, and it actually looks good. This was my fourth or fifth time with the clippers, but our first real success. I’d been putting it off, so he was pretty shaggy, which makes the contrast even more impressive.

I’ve never wanted to cut David’s hair, so he always went to the barber. But ever since he broke his neck, getting him to the barber shop and into and out of the chair has been a struggle. So I finally gave up and bought a set of clippers. Then we had a training session with our friend Helen, who will tackle anything. She even cut David’s hair while he was at Craig Hospital with his head caged in a halo.

She’s a good trainer, too, but learning curves are inevitable.

Someday I should make a list of the new skills I’ve gained as a result of David’s accident, some weirder than others. Today we both feel really good about this one. I procrastinated, but I didn’t quit. Victory is sweet.

The Creative Hero

David and I have met many heroes through his accident. Others we run into in the course of regular life, but now we’re both more aware of unusual types of heroism.

The other day we went to a reception at an art gallery in Old Colorado City. I’d stopped in the day before, and when I met the woman who co-founded the gallery 35 years earlier, she invited me to the reception. She was about to turn 101, which means she started this business when she was in her mid-60s. Obviously not the kind of person to let cultural biases about age get in the way of doing new things.

At the reception, we learned more about Marian. She has macular degeneration, a significant vision problem, but that isn’t getting in her way either. “I just changed the kind of art I do,” she told us. She’s also a bit deaf, but she leans in closer, listens intently, and smiles. When we turned to leave, she smiled warmly up at me and said, “I hoped you’d come.”

At 100 years old – 101 by now – she’s still creating and giving of herself, ready to add new people to her life. She’s a hero.

A Tale of Two Johns

Among those who’ve come into our lives because of David’s accident are two odd characters, both named John.

The first is John McCane. His name evolved from David’s frequently asked question, “Where’s my cane?” Spoken quickly, the last two words sound like the last name of a politician who was then very much in the news. John is a complex character, useful for walking, hooking something to bring it closer, pushing shoes or socks off, and other helpful tricks.

But John has a definite malicious streak. If he’s leaning against something and sees me coming, he’ll time it to slide down at the last moment and trip me or whack me on the shin. He’s done both more times than I can count. He also hides.

One day, he went too far. David turned and lost his balance. Not only did John not support him, but as they went down, he rapped David a good one on the head.

This was when Johnnie Walker entered our lives. He’s much more trustworthy, with his four stout legs and handles. But he doesn’t have nearly as much personality.

And as John McCane has been relegated to sock and shoe removal, much of the life has gone out of him. When I walk past and see him leaning quietly against the wall, waiting to be called into service, I feel a little sad.

Exceptions to the Rule

Every now and then, free advice is worth way more than what it cost.

Just before David and I got married, someone told me, “If you enjoy your wedding, everyone else will, too.” I remembered that, and when each problem popped up, I shrugged it off. I had a great time at our wedding. Everyone else seemed to as well.

When I was losing a pregnancy, our friend Nella asked how I was doing. I told her I was having trouble holding onto God. “You don’t need to,” she said. “God’s holding you in the very center of His palm.” That word picture was exactly what I needed. I hadn’t realized how tense I was until I let go and rested.

Then, right after David’s accident, our friend Sarah gave me the principle of keeping low ceilings and high floors. Another perfect word picture. When David first moved a finger of his right hand, I rejoiced but didn’t go sky-high. When he got pneumonia, I sagged but didn’t drop into a pit. That advice kept me sane through the ups and downs of hospital life, and David soon adopted it, too. We still use it.

Good freebies. I pass them on for what they’re worth.