Sunday, January 4, 2015


Slippery Slopes
The Tennessee mountains are damp and wet. Perpetually wet, as I'm finding out. The ground is soft and mushy, slippery, carpeted with rich green moss. And that's on the rainless days. When it rains, it's an obstacle course of mud.

My house here in the mountains is (of course) on a slope. Everything is slanty or slopey and it takes awhile to get used to it.

Spell Check assures me that the words slanty and slopey do not exist, but I don 't give a damn. They exist in the mountains of Tennessee.

This isn't a lesson in topography. It is merely a prelude to my story; an appetizer before the main course.

Here's the main course:

It's raining relentlessly all day Saturday. I feel lazy and lethargic - - alarmingly unmotivated. The house is still empty. My furniture won't be delivered until Tuesday. All I have is a small table, a metal folding chair, and that ancient repulsive reclining chair that the previous owner left.

The repulsive reclining chair has turned out to be an island of refuge in a sea of nothingness. Me and my three cats actually battle one another to utilize the chair. If I get into the chair first and fall asleep, I usually wake up to find two or more cats crowded in the chair with me.

To say that our sleeping arrangement is uncomfortable would be a gross understatement. I'm nearly crippled from aches and pains. When I wake up it usually takes ten minutes for me to dislodge myself from the cats and the chair's unwholesome grip. Then I limp and stagger around all day doing a bad imitation of Quasimodo.

This afternoon my rapidly deteriorating body is wracked (racked?) with pain. I'm in a foul mood - alternately grumbling curses at the chair, the cats, and the incredibly slow moving company (which seems to be coming via wagon train).

Despite the rain and the pain, I decide to venture outside to quickly clean one of the rain gutters - which has been hopelessly clogged with leaves. This impromptu project would be the highlight of a boring day.

After cleaning the gutter, I decide to wander around the side of the house to check something in the garage.

It's still raining. Mud is everywhere. I'm trying to be careful......

I suddenly slip on the top of a slippery slope.
Both legs fly out in front of me. I land on my ass in a sea of mud, hurting both wrists as I instinctively try to break my fall.

Stars and birdies orbit around my head, like in a Warner Brothers cartoon.

Before I even have time to comprehend the situation, I'm sliding on my ass at breakneck speed down the hill. It's better than an E Ticket ride at Disneyland. Or a water slide.

As my ride gains momentum, I have periodic regrets about living so far away from a hospital. My regrets are expunged as I hit the next mud puddle and slam to a stop.

It takes me a few seconds to breathe again. And about another minute to assess the situation.

I'd made it down a mountainside riding solely on the cushion of my ass and lived to tell about it. Thanks to the big mud puddle at the end of the ride. It acted like a gigantic airbag, courtesy of Mother Nature.

I laboriously crawl on my hands and knees up the slope and back to the house. It's only then that I realize my clothes are covered in mud and I won't have a washing machine until Tuesday. Well, at least I can take a shower.

It would all be hilarious if it wasn't so painful.


  1. Now you have a notion of how to escape in a fire...

    Seriously, slip-on ice creepers might be the answer if you can stay off the mud and grass. A little more caution exercised is called for -- we simply don't heal as fast as we did when younger. Happy new home to you, Jon.

  2. Winter is just something to be endured, it will be really beautiful there in the Spring and Summer. I do have to note though that you tend to go from one extreme to the other. Perhaps you are better suited to somewhere in the middle? I hope once you are equipped and settled there that it will turn out to be a happy place for you. I think a positive attitude would help.

    1. Actually, Tennessee has the mildest winter I've ever experienced, next to California. The Missouri Ozarks and West Texas were far worse. I don't mind dampness, as long as I don't slide on it!

  3. our asses are good for something, eh? hope the movers can make it up your road to the house.

    1. I'm worried about the movers. I'd hate to see one of my pianos go down the mountainside.

  4. Oh dear, it sounds bad. But in an amusing way. If it wasn't so painful I'd suggest you try to get the hang of it - it's something to do on a boring afternoon! :) Happy new Year to you, Jon!

  5. Welcome to winter in the mountains..!!
    At least you've got mud...we've got wet nasty red clay on our side the the Blue Ridge.....
    Hugs {{{}}}

  6. Jon,
    Believe it or not I slipped and fell on my ass too this morning. Of course all the land is perfectly flat here in coastal Delaware ( which Bill hates). It has been raining here too and I slipped on the wooden ramp into my shed out back. At least no one saw me fall on my ass.😝 I know slippery slopes though. The house we lived in Pennsylvania was on the side of a hill. Ask me how many times I slipped on that slop outside our walk in basement.😳 so glad you're back on line Jon. Check out my Word Press blog (Ron in Retirement). I can get a little more personal on that blog since all my family, Bill, neighbors and co- workers don't know about it ......yet.

  7. Jon, it sounds like Tuesday can't come too soon --only a couple days, you can do it. Be careful in the mountains, especially after so many years on flat land. I'm shortly due in San Francisco and face a similar disadvantage. Did you know a leading cause of injury there is people falling out of their yards? Again, be careful!

  8. Thank goodness you're OK!!!
    OK, the way in which you've 'painted' this episode is pretty funny, but could have been so much worse. You sound far too young to have to wear one of those Life Alert contraptions.

    I can't help but wonder if the 'locals' have had to adjust the manner in which they walk, or if their shoes have cleats on the bottom?

  9. I can tell you a story about a piano going down a mountainside in Pennsylvania. But right now I'm worried about your wrists breaking your fall. I hope you're ok.Thank god for your ass taking the brunt of it.

  10. Your cover picture brought a smile to my face having walked that path to the lake beyond many times ...... That storm was a doozy the year the pic was taken. :-)

    1. Where was that photo taken? I found it on the Internet and thought it was lovely.

  11. Ouch! If I did that this poor back would be a goner for sure. I hope your furniture gets there tomorrow.


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