Note: A few months ago, I blogged about discovering some twenty-year-old journals in my attic and taking the time to read through them. I learned that, back then, I wrote a lot of fiction, and some of it still resonates with me. Just for fun, in the month of December, I’m going to post excerpts. If you like the work, please let me know! And feel free to share this link and invite others to read! This piece is rather silly.
Trinity Foot. It sounded like the title of some Stephen King novel, but it’s how I refer to my right foot, the one with only three toes. The big one, that’s the Father, of course, and the two next to it are the Son and the Holy Ghost. They are all rather Holy to me, since I feel graced by God to still have them.
I was 10 when I lost the other two toes. I was into learning to do things myself—before I discovered all those important-looking things Mom and Dad did could be summed up in one boring word: work.
I was begging my dad to teach me how to mow the lawn. He was methodically zipping up and down our grass, and I kept waving and hollering over the sound of the motor, “Dad, can I help?” After I had interrupted him multiple times, he let me get behind the mower to give it a try. That was when Mom came storming out, yelling, which looked more like her lips flapping around and her face getting all red and twisted because the sound could not be heard over the engine.
Dad turned the mower off.
“What are you doing?” my mom hollered. That must have been what she’d been yelling, too.
“Teaching Jeb how to mow the lawn.”
“Don’t you at least think he should have shoes on?” I was standing there in my bare feet, watching them like a tennis match. I wanted Dad to zing Mom because she always got her message across by asking sarcastic questions that left you with no doubt as to what she thought the answer was. Like, “It’s raining, don’t you think you need a raincoat?” Or, “It’s ten degrees outside, Jeb, don’t you think you should wear a hat?”
I always wanted to say, “No,” and I couldn’t believe it when my dad did.
“No,” he said. Just like that.
Mom’s mouth opened and closed. Her lips waggled about a little bit, but no words came out. She turned on her heel and went back in. Dad shrugged.
Then he taught me how to start the mower. It took me nearly six tries. He pointed at the rows he’d been making and watched for a while, then he drifted off to admire the tomatoes.
I was pretending I was driving a speed car when it finally happened. I was running with the mower and making a sophisticated vroom-vroom noise when I noticed a large stick in my trail. I stopped quickly to pick it up, thinking Dad would’ve been proud of my advanced reasoning skills.
When I couldn’t reach the stick, because the mower was in the way, I backed it up and to the right, and that’s when my foot became Holy. I ran right over my toes. Blood and flesh squirted and flew in every direction, and I screamed and fell down on the lawn.
I learned to wear shoes while I’m mowing, and I learned it’s best to listen when Mom’s questions are pointed.