April. 5th grade. It must've been raining, because my class was playing a heated game of kickball in the gym. Mr. Timmer was our teacher, and I was the catcher. William Wainwright, my nemesis, was on third base, and after a decent kick from his teammate, he came toward me with determination. Though I had the ball, and was standing on the base, he put his shoulder down and knocked me up in the air. I came down on my left wrist, and broke both bones in my arm. Ow. That's what...28 years ago now? My mom was teaching at the time, but couldn't very well leave her classroom, so she had her sister Beverly take me to the doctor in Halstad. My arm had quickly swelled up to twice its normal size, and as we waited to see Doc Brown, he decided to spend 45 minutes visiting with an octogenarian in the next room. Aunt Bev and I learned all about Mrs. Alfredson's ferns while we waited.
When the doctor finally saw the x-ray his nurse had taken, he quickly decided it was beyond his expertise: with both bones broken, one badly, I had to go to St. Ansgar's in Moorhead. There I was put under general anesthesia, my arm was set, and I woke up to crabby nun nurses taking my blood pressure in the middle of the night. When they came to pick me up from the hospital, my parents took me out to Nine Dragons, our favorite Chinese restaurant, which I couldn't really enjoy because I was still queasy from the anesthetic.
But that wasn't the worst part. The worst part was, with an 8 week cast, I turned eleven at the end of May and could not ride my brand new blue ten speed bike until mid-June.
It was, at least up until then, one of the great tragedies of my life.