Friday, March 12, 2010


My sister and I have both lived more than 60 years.  In that 120+ year time, we have only broken one bone, her arm.  When she was a little kid, about three or four, we had a gate across the front porch steps to keep her from getting into the street or falling or something.  I don't know how it was that she was outside the gate on the top step but she was.  She was trying to open the "protective" gate from the outside, difficult for a short little kid without much arm strength or knowledge of locking mechanisms.  She struggled with the lock and while doing so, slipped off the top step and fell to the ground, breaking her right arm.  

Little kid arms heal rapidly but the cast can get in the way.  I can still picture her pumping away on her tricycle with the arm cast laid across the handlebars.  My mother was left-handed all her life but my sister only became  left-handed while her right arm was in a cast.  In that way, she was a bit of a bridge between my mother and me.  In many sports and types of combat, which hand is dominant matters.  Our stepfather was a 'southpaw', a lefthanded pitcher.  For quite a while, I was the only right-handed member of our little nuclear family.

For all of us, bones matter, of course.  Breaking a hip is a tradition marker of the beginning of deadly decline in the elderly.  Them bones are also a part of our bods that can really last hundreds or thousands of years, given the right conditions.  Despite the general feel that our bones are like sticks or rods, they are living things and go through elaborate changes, both from growth and in repair.  I have read that bones can be slowly stretched with the right attached mechanisms.  In junior high, I realized that I was not destined to be the sexy 6 foot man I wanted to be.  I am a little past wanting to be redesigned now and it might not have been a good idea, anyhow.

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