AMY KIRK: Hoping for a clean break
I don’t mind tripping over a ball hitch, scraping my shins, falling on my rear or landing square on my tailbone now and then as long as my clothes don’t get dirty or ripped. When I end up on the ground, the first thing I do is see what my clothes look like and if they’re covered in wet corral goo, slushy mud or got ripped.
Anytime I slip, trip or fall down, my first reaction is to check my clothing. Injuries are not as time consuming as having to pre-treat new stains on my favorite work jeans, recently washed chore coat or new gloves.
Even though my coveralls are covered with a lot of permanent stains, I still get enthused when I have fresh, clean coveralls to wear. I like to start out my winter with freshly washed coveralls and get irritated the first time they get dirtied up.
Having good clean, stain-free, intact and new clothes is rare for me. Most of my new jeans and favorite tops designated for dressy occasions have a short-lived life and end up work clothes — not just because I’m a sloppy eater who is always spilling coffee on my pants, dropping food on my lap and dribbling chocolate cake batter intended for my mouth down the front of my shirt — but because I’m a lazy launderer and don’t get right on those food, mud and cow poopy stains. I’m more apt to add extra laundry soap and wash them in hot water on the extra agitate cycle instead. Since this rarely works, I end up wearing a lot of stained clothes and jeans with holes in both knees or barbed wire snags.
I have a hard time accepting new stains and tears on my clothes even if that’s the kind of clothes I wear most of the time. My first and foremost concern anytime my klutziness and inattention are in charge of my body’s reactions is catching myself before landing in wet manure or a mud hole, even if it’s at the expense of my body.
I can tolerate a smarting forearm or throbbing shins, but I do not like muddy wet sleeves or jeans, especially in cold weather. When I get hurt what I worry about is whether or not I’m going to have to wash my clothes again after one wearing and if they’ll need to have stain remover applied to them. With a banged up kneecap or tingling elbow I don’t have to do much because swearing, blaming or face scrunching, and moving my body erratically usually covers it, but if a new calf poops on my good glove, it’s going to affect wiping my nose when my nostrils get drippy. I can still keep going if I get kicked or nearly trampled on — just slower. Ranch-style laundry stains however, I have to make time for.
If I should break my leg and you happen to witness it, you’ll just have to avert your eyes because I’m sure that’ll be the day I’ll be wearing a rare pair of jeans that don’t have permanent stains, rips or holes, and I will strip down to my skivvies before I let anybody cut up a good pair of my pants off.
The other thing is that the doctor is just going to have to deal with an unshaven broken leg because it’s too loathsome of a job to do daily. Like I said, you’ll have to avert your eyes. And if it does happen, I hope it’ll be a “clean” break.
— Amy Kirk and her husband raise their two kids on a fourth-generation cow/calf operation near Pringle. She blogs at ranchwifeslant.areavoices.com.