It was a typical hot summer, and my dad, who super lurvs cherries, wanted to go for a ride to a local pick-your-own fruit farm. I came along with him. I must have been very bored, because anyone who's ever been forced to go along with their parents to a dry, dusty orchard in the dead of summer knows how endlessly dull it is.
The old farmer greeted us at the gate, and directed us to the area where we could pick our own. Dad drove in, we parked and then got out to scope out the best tree. We appeared to be the only ones there, so we could have our pick of the orchard, it seemed.
Is everyone familiar with an orchard ladder? Well, they look like this:
|post on one side, climby part on the other|
Unfortunately my dad has never had much sense, or sense of DANGER when it comes to DANGEROUS THINGS. So, he set up the ladder under a good tree, which was fine, and he climbed up like the person in the picture, but that wasn't good enough, so he climbed higher. Ooo, looky, look! There's a nice big cluster of cherries right overhead!
Well, I would like to think that everyone knows that that step at the very top of the ladder is NOT a step. I think it even says that on some ladders, you know, for those sort of people who might be inclined to run their hair dryer while they're in the bath?
So, dad stepped up onto the not-a-step step, until he was a good five feet off the ground or more, and even better, reached way overhead to grab that enticing large bunch of cherries, even though cautious karen was not happy about him being on that precarious ladder like that.
Dad reached. The ladder closed like a book. The ladder flopped over one way, and dad fell the other, landing flat on his back with a great "OOF!!!"
I was HORRIFIED. I leaned over dad. His eyes bulged. He had blood on the side of his mouth.
"Dad! Are you okay?!?"
But dad couldn't talk, and mumbled out some unintelligible; "blobbleobbleumble buh..."
So, I reacted just as I should: I FREAKED.
"DON'T WORRY DAD I'LL GET HELP!"
I tore off through the dusty orchard, sobbing, in a total panic. I took a wrong turn and came nearly face to face with the snarly, gnashing teeth of the farm dog, luckily on a chain. Horrified I back-tracked and ran like a headless chicken back to the entrance to the farm, where the farmer himself was having a nap in his little entry shack.
"MY DADDY FELL OFF THE LADDER!" I wailed.
The old farmer sprang up; "OKAY, HONEY! GET IN!"
We hopped into his old, huge beater of a car, and started driving. And there was dad, standing up and waving his arm around, shouting my name.
When we pulled up, dad explained that while he'd given me a good scare, he was okay. I was ruined and collapsed against him. He talked with the farmer for a minute and I remember the farmer saying; "that's a good girl ya got there," but I couldn't stop sobbing.
They chatted amicably for a moment, and then the farmer drove back to his post. Dad said; "phew, I think that's enough for today. Let's go home."
So, what had happened? Dad was on the top of that precarious ladder, reaching for that irresistably large bunch of cherries. However, he'd been eating them as fast as he could pick them, and had a nice mouthful at the time, when the ladder WOBBLED then SMACKED CLOSED. He landed flat on his back, with a mouthful of cherries. Cherry juice spurted out beside his mouth, and the wind had nicely been knocked out of him, so that's why he couldn't answer immediately. By the time he'd caught enough breath to tell me he was alright, I was more than halfway back to the farmer.
So, I had a heart-attack, he had a nice permanent cherry juice stain on his back, and my family had a new story to chortle over every year thereafter; they especially love the part where I say "my DADDY fell off the ladder". Yeah, yeah, whatever.