Pawlenty to Talk About: February 12, 2014


Happy belated New Year to everyone! I hope your 2014 is treating you well so far. My fingers just started thawing out so I could write another column … tough winter so far in case you hadn’t noticed (hah). I stepped on the scale the other day. Like a tree, I have added yet another growth ring and, sadly, the pounds to go with it.  It’s tough getting old. The main thing I noticed is that I can’t do the things I used to … at least not with the ease and grace of years ago.
Case in point happened a few weeks back. I was in the pole barn one evening to fetch some gas for the plow truck. As I was walking back out, the toe of my boot hooked a small wood pile and you guessed it … “down goes Frazier”… face flat on the class five. My first instinct was to pop back up and look around to see who had witnessed my fine agility, but knowing I was alone, I stayed on the floor and started laughing out loud at how clumsy I was. Then realizing I really was all alone, I thought I’d better check to see if anything was broken. The brain started a reboot. No major pain reported in as I started to wiggle fingers and toes. Other than a wrenched thumb from the awkward landing with five gallons of gas (and my dented pride), I was fine … but still on the class five.
It is really amazing the perspective you get from the ground position. My pole barn looked so much bigger from that vantage point (I really do have to get rid of some junk). Then, right there in front of my eyes was the nut I lost, and desperately searched for, from an earlier summer repair. With that found treasure, I looked around for more lost stuff, but came up empty. Not seeing any more reason to lie on the floor in -10 degrees, I figured I better get up, brush myself off, laugh some more, and get back to work. 
Another case in point happened earlier this summer. I had just put the dock, lift and pontoon in the lake. I went back up to the cabin to ask “my reason for living” if she would like to go for a little cruise to start off the summer. She agreed and headed down to the dock. I was a few minutes behind her with the key and refreshments. With the recent rains, there was a little puddle of water just before the first section of the dock. The dock surface was still wet as well. If you are picturing things, you can see this was a perfect storm for what happened next.
As I came trotting up to the dock (yes, I can still trot… just not gracefully, though), I jumped over the little puddle and onto the dock. The jump went fine (with the same grace as the trot). As I landed on the dock surface, my right foot slipped wildly out from under me. My reaction from there was pure survival instinct. My left foot dug in hard under the dock frame to somehow try and stabilize 210 pounds of out of control “grace.” The metal dock frame was unforgiving as it raked the lower part of my shin and all the way down the front of my foot. I landed with my butt just barely on the corner of the dock. The cooler went for an airplane ride. The pain was intense as my face wrinkled up, but this “grace” thing was not done just yet. As I sat there for a split second trying to stick the landing, I slowly tipped off the dock and into the puddle. With my butt still hung up on the dock and my back now in the bowl-shaped puddle, I was stuck like a turtle on its back (that “grace” thing again). The only way out was to roll over my shoulder through the puddle and onto my knees. I was now soaking wet as I moved quickly to put my aching foot in the ice cold lake for some relief. I winced in pain for that first minute when it felt like my foot was cut off.
Now, all this was survivable with just a bruised foot, change of clothes, and again, dented pride. No one else was on the lake to witness this full on display of “grace” … except for my wife. There she was, 20 feet away, watching the whole scene play out. As I squinted at her in intense pain, she started laughing quietly and then busted a gut when she noticed me looking at her. After she stopped, she came up to check on me. Instead of the usual “are you OK?” she said, “that was one of the funniest things I’ve seen … it was like ‘Three Stooges,’” (just one stooge in this case … lucky me). Well, I got myself together and we went on our little cruise. The wife laughed a few more times as she looked back at me rubbing my foot. Ahh, memories.
So, if you see me in a full body cast anytime soon, you will know something most likely happened due to my aging body. You can either ask me what happened, or just call me “Grace.” … I’ll know what you mean.