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I had an interesting souvenir from my recent trip to Australia…a broken bone. It seems I have entered the ‘Calamity Jane’ stage of my life since I got this broken bone during a simple walk in Melbourne. And, I must confess, it was the second tumble I had taken during the trip. Talk about distracted driving…this was distracted walking at its worst.

The Man in My Life and I were walking on a trail, chatting and, I admit, I was blithely looking for cockatoos in a tree, when my running shoe caught on the edge of a pothole and down I went, bloodying my knees, tearing my pants, and (I thought) twisting my ankle. It didn’t hurt enough to be broken (my wide-ranging medical knowledge leaping to the fore) so I put ice on my foot and tried to ignore it. When it turned black (most of the foot) and kept swelling, I still ignored it. We had things to see, places to go, and I’d be damned if I was going to ruin the trip over a stupid sprain. The next week, we walked over two miles in Canberra one day.

Arriving home, I shared my experiences on the trip with my children. The first thing out of Gill’s mouth was, “OMG! Mom, you must go to the doctor. You, with your tiny, osteoporotic bird bones, might have broken something.”

“Oh, I don’t need to go to the doctor,” I said as I brushed off her advice. By the time the other two had also ordered me to see a doctor, my will to fight had been squelched. I went to the doctor. He said he didn’t think anything was broken, but he wanted to do an x-ray just to make sure. I’m sure you, loyal readers, can see where this is going. It turns out I had a tiny fracture at the very tip of my ankle bone. “Oh, but there’s really nothing you can do about it, is there?” I asked, figuring they’d simply leave it alone to repair itself.

“A walking boot cast for six weeks,” was the answer.

“A what, now?”

And thus began my long, exceedingly trying month of May. I couldn’t go for my daily long walks, I couldn’t swim. For a person who views the opening of the pool the way a dying, thirsty wanderer in the dessert views a watering hole, this was a crushing blow. I took myself over to the pool to say ‘hi’ to the guards, show them my boot cast in an attempt to explain why I wasn’t in the pool. (They expect me to be the first one in and the last one to leave the pool every year. They know when I’m coming and yell out “Hi, Laurie…the lane is clear and the temperature is just the way you like it!” I basically have a lane (the one closest to the side deck where they keep the boom box blasting tunes for me to swim along with. And people wonder why I don’t have a backyard pool? I get much more, including lifeguards, from this, the community pool right across the street. At any rate, I went to chat with them, brandish my boot, and get the sympathy vote from them. I looked pretty downtrodden and miserable, so they obliged.

The Boot was a challenge particularly when I had to ‘dress up’ for a social occasion. And, wouldn’t you know it? I had a very special event at my Alma Mater. I was to be given an honor for my volunteer work there over the years. What to wear? It had to be pants — since I needed the extra bulk to fill up space in the boot. My legs are so skinny simply a sock won’t do it. But the pants couldn’t be too flared at the bottom or there’d be too much material. Then, since it was a ‘dress-up’ event, it had to be something other than jeans or casual pants. And then the top or blouse would have to be special, something flappy and made of silky fabric, preferably bright to detract attention from The Boot. And my other foot would have to sport a flat shoe with the same heel height as The Boot so I wouldn’t wobble. (Okay, I knew that, after a few glasses of celebratory wine I’d wobble, but I didn’t want to START OFF wobbling.)

My attire, if I do say so myself, was extremely clever and fantastic. I wore black pants, a lovely bright flappy top of orange, pink and yellow wispy fabric, one pink snakeskin flat (I am well known for my vast, unique shoe collection) on my good foot and, wait for it, a bright fuchsia coat. I made an entrance that you couldn’t miss! And, the best part of it all was that The Boot served as a fabulous conversation starter. Not that I ever need one, but still…

And so, although The Boot was annoying, it proved yet another example of turning lemons into lemonade…possibly spiked with something.