From: "Terri" <email@example.com> Newsgroups: talk.bizarre Subject: Mother Cut Her Big Toe Off with a Lawnmower Date: Fri, 3 Dec 1999 11:14:41 -0000 Organization: r a n d o m v i o l i n s . o r g Lines: 68 Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> X-Trace: starbug.oit.pdx.edu 944248526 20842 126.96.36.199 (3 Dec 1999 19:15:26 GMT) X-Complaints-To: email@example.com NNTP-Posting-Date: 3 Dec 1999 19:15:26 GMT X-Priority: 3 X-MSMail-Priority: Normal X-Newsreader: Microsoft Outlook Express 5.00.2314.1300 X-MimeOLE: Produced By Microsoft MimeOLE V5.00.2314.1300 It wasn't summertime but it was hot, the year Mother cut her big toe off with a lawnmower. I had scrambled up a nearby tree in the backyard of our tract home in Palmdale, California, while Mother mowed the lawn, cursing as she went along, because the lawnmower would get stuck on the decorative brick surrounding the small patches of yellow and green crabgrass. It wasn't summer, because my big brother was in school, and therefore I was the only witness to what happened, there from my post in the hunchback oak tree, the only provider of shade in the yard. She was wearing shorts and a tank top and those little canvas fold-up shoes like I wear sometimes now. Striped fold-up shoes. The sound came suddenly, a metallic lurch - her toe being yanked from her by the lawnmower blade - when she had stuck her left foot under the mower in her impatience to release it from the brick. I heard the sound, watching from the tree. I was four, maybe five. She didn't immediately scream, but instead threw the lawnmower away from her in one huge swoop that toppled it onto its side, and then I could see the blood spinning in the blade, and the toe on the grass where she had stuck her foot under the mower, and her little fold-up shoe in shreds. Mother didn't scream exactly, she howled - yaaah yaaah ooohy yaaah. She never looked at me - maybe she didn't know I was there or had forgotten I was there - as she began hopping towards the sliding glass door of the back porch, flinging it open, and then disappeared from my view but still howled so I knew she was on her way through the small house and out the front door. By the time I climbed down the tree - which I did in a very slow, methodical way, not in any hurry to run after her - the echo from the howls had reached the nearest neighbor's house and she was pounding on their front door. I was calm and unafraid. Too calm for a little girl who had just witnessed a terrible thing. I walked slowly towards and through the back door, and while doing so, eyeing each and every pattern of smudges of dark blood left by my mother as she hopped through the house. The pattern was a big smudge next to a little smudge that had the edge of a toeprint, each set of smudges far enough apart to decide that my mother had hopped on the good foot but occasionally had come down on the now mangled foot - that must have been when she howled louder. By the time I made it out the front door and into the front yard, the neighbors had already positioned my mother into the back seat of their car and were preparing to whisk her away to the hospital. My mother continued to howl and thrash about. The car drove away. I stood and watched it turn the corner, When I couldn't hear it anymore, I turned around and backtracked past the smudges of her blood, counting them as I went along, calm and unaffected. Even amused a little. Nothing exciting ever happened around our house much, so this was entertainment. My memory of this starts to fade out now, with the counting of the bloody smudges, and I have a feeling that I could only count up to ten, but that there were more smudges than that. I thought to myself once, "I wonder if Mother is dead," but it stirred no emotion in me to think it. And now the memory fades. She ended up getting two toes cut off on her left foot - the big toe was never retrieved but the one next to it, sliced nearly completely off, they managed to sew back on. Mother reports that she has no feeling in that toe since the accident. It's a dead toe but at least it's there. And one time she mentioned how she resented that she was even back there mowing the lawn - which, in her view, should have been my father's job. She never had to mow the lawn again. My father didn't, my big brother did. A nurse wheeled her into the lobby of the hospital - the same hospital where you were born - once so we could visit with her. (Kids were not allowed in patient care areas at that time.) She had her left foot propped in a stirrup and her entire foot was covered with gauze so that she looked like she had no foot at all, just a big round bowling ball at the end of her leg. I remember flipping through a Highlights magazine there in the lobby and that our visit was short. Mother just wanted to reassure us kids that she was indeed alive and getting well. The memory fades here, with a note that for reasons seemingly to do with fear of my father, or his parents - my grandparents who often watched after me during this time - I was glad Mother was coming home soon. She been there a month. But I still didn't feel sorry for her.