or "A Real Gardener is Willing to Sacrifice a Body Part!" My garden is filled with benches, arbors, and trellises. The comment I hear most often is, "How lucky you are to have such husband who can build these things." I immediately bristle. I'm the one with the missing finger, so doesn't it automatically follow that I'm the carpenter?
Upon hearing I cut off my finger with a trim saw, men roll their eyes, implying a women shouldn't be allowed to touch a power tool. But whenever I was in the waiting room of my hand surgeon, the occupants were wall-to-wall men who were careless with power tools. I actually felt I was standing tall for women everywhere by proving a woman can be just as stupid and careless with a power tool as a man.
My father was the ultimate handy person who could build or fix anything. Being an only child and a girl to boot, I was lucky my father chose to bring me up with a hammer in one hand and an issue of Popular Mechanic in the other. I can still hear him saying, "Always use a tool as it was meant to be used and never hurry." Of course I'm perpetually in a hurry and, as often as not, on the top of a ladder with a power cord wrapped around my neck, holding two boards in one hand and some sort of power tool in the other.
In fact I'm always an accident waiting to happen. I've been to the emergency room so many times that my husband walks in the door saying. I didn't do anything to her." It's his automatic response to being told that emergency staffs notify authorities of possible abuse if one person has too many "accidents."
One particularly nice day I was building a small gazebo (in a hurry as usual). I grabbed a newly purchased trim saw and pressed the power button. Only then did I discover that the blade was just the reverse of my other skill saws and my index finger from my left hand was on the ground.
Being home alone, I wrapped a tourniquet around my arm and a hasty bandage around my hand. Before I drove myself to the hospital, I remembered the finger and gathered it up so it could be reattached. Unfortunately it was unreattachable and, to literally add insult to injury, I was billed $70 for "tissue disposal." If I had known that, I would have kept the severed digit and given it a proper burial next to the gazebo. In place of a head stone, I'd placed a finger stone with the inscription "A real gardener is willing to sacrifice a body part for the beauty of the garden."
But this experience did make me a celebrity of sorts. The following winter I attended Grandparent's Day at my granddaughter's kindergarten class and, after proudly introducing me to her class, she announced that they could line up and touch her grandma's "cutted off" finger. And they did.
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