Yes, it's quite an unusual title for a post. However, it is one of my favorite vignettes from my memoir, When All Balls Drop.
Five years ago on my birthday, I was in New York's Hudson River Valley recovering from a broken neck caused by a freak tree accident earlier that fall. It was a very eventful birthday that I will share in two parts.
Part 1: Seeing the tree that put my life on hold for the first time.
Excerpt from When All Balls Drop, "Calling the Cops on My Birthday"
I saw the evil tree for the first time. I had seen it before in photos, but on my birthday, it warranted an up-close-and-personal visit. In fact, I wanted to touch it. So AJ and I walked the same route I had gone that day to take out the trash. To my dismay, the limb still graced the parking lot. My mouth dropped wide open as my eyes just stared at the monstrosity. I was more than stunned. How could anyone survive the sheer weight of a limb that size? And how is that person me?
Yes, it was considerably larger than the pictures made it appear. It was frightening to see it, feel it, and then rethink the past month and a half of recovering from what everyone told me was a miracle. Only then--after neurosurgery, numerous CT scans, and time--did I begin to comprehend the severity of everything. And confronting the damn evil tree helped.
Part 2: Calling the Cops on My Birthday
Later that day, I celebrated by going to my first movie and eating at my husband's workplace in Rhinebeck. Although there was so much to be grateful for that particular day, as I sat at the restaurant's counter, something else was bothering me; my father had not called. It was already late in the evening, and I was worried.
Another excerpt from the same vignette:
Why would he choose this year of all years to not call on my birthday?
I needed to bounce my thoughts and feelings off someone. So I called my mom. She agreed it was weird and suggested I should call someone to go and check on him. I had no one in Florida; my friends in the area didn't live close. Regretfully, I had not been neighborly enough to exchange phone numbers with people nearby.
I decided to contact the local police department in Florida...
The police station's receptionist, a woman, politely answered the phone. Following protocol, I told her my name, address, where I was, and that it wasn't an emergency. "I know this must seem strange, but my seventy-four-year-old father has not called me on my birthday. I recently was in a traumatic accident, and he and I are very close. He is living by himself in Plantation. I'm recovering up north. He would not miss calling me on any birthday, let alone this very important birthday. I have tried calling him at least seven times from this afternoon to present. He is not picking up."
I continued by giving his information, telephone number, and address. After a short wait, she said, "I have an officer available. I'll send a car over to check on your dad and the house."
So as to not give more of the story away, I will only tell you that a police officer called me that evening with good news from my father's home. It was indeed a Happy Birthday.
Calling in a favor not the cops
This year, I celebrate my birthday healthy, happy, and living in my new home in Kauai. Instead of calling the cops, I do want to call in a favor.
The best birthday present you could give me this year would be showing your support for When All Balls Drop: The Upside of Losing Everything. Please purchase a copy or give it as a gift this year. After reading it, don't forget to spread the powerful story and message by writing a review of Amazon, Goodreads, and/or Barnes & Noble.
Here's to looking up!