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Seeding the Legend of Poppy

Posted: February 2, 2014 - 12:10am

Today’s column is dedicated to every friend who ever said she wants to be like my mother when she “grows up.” A person should possess full knowledge of that for which she wishes:

Oddly enough, though I live within five miles of my parents, I read about the incident on Facebook. My sister’s status on Monday afternoon said, My mom just called me by accident, after she fell off of a horse, was driving down the road without the use of one arm, and trying to call someone to take her to an urgent care clinic. My sister lives in Tuscaloosa.

That’s how my mother, aka. Pop­py, operates. Had there not been blood, she would have driven home, taken a hot bath and never mentioned that she was unable to extend or contract her right arm. She would have later regaled us with news about a goat farm and about local-character Andrew excising the azaleas from her yard at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday and the $50 she paid him to go home, but she never would have explained why she was imitating Napoleon.

Earlier in the day, Poppy and two friends trotted their horses up a trail through pine woods, when my mother’s steed stepped in a hole and lurched sideways. She fell off and scrambled in the shadow of the horse coming down after her. Within seconds the event was over.

“I think my arm is bleeding,” said Poppy.

“That’s just mud,” observed one of the ladies to Poppy’s satisfaction.

She couldn’t re-mount her horse, so my mother fashioned a sling for her swiftly swelling arm from a stirrup leather and walked the miles back to the start point. Managing the animal with her left hand, she trudged through woods, waded creeks, hiked hills, trekked meadows and braved brambles. By the time the horse trailer was in sight, blood had soaked Poppy’s sleeve and was dripping from her elbow. The lady who spoke “mud” recanted.

Poppy’s companions took action. One pulled my mother’s sleeve up to her shoulder, slathered horse liniment into the wound, bound the arm in equine leg wraps and looped the make-shift sling around it again. The other lady dug on the floorboards and in the crevices of her car and came up with a single Advil. It was a filthy pill to swallow.

Hell and high water had come, but Poppy ignored her soaked socks and shooting pain. She and the ladies giddy with adventure set off to visit a goat farm. Yes, a goat farm.

Learning of the goat farm interlude in the medical emergency rendered me dumbfounded. I asked no questions. Poppy had broken off the tip of her elbow where the tendon for her triceps attaches, yet goats took priority.

Tuesday morning, I checked on Poppy. She’d caught that character Andrew slaughtering her landscape and incented him to stop. She’d discovered that she could strike a match with her left hand after 14 tries. She had a pot roast in the oven and was readying to bake cookies. As for the prescribed pain medication, she said, “I’m not going to waste this day.”

Now, do you, friends, dare to disciple after my mother? Will you swallow an Advil that was stuck to the bottom of my car’s cup holder? Would you go to a goat farm on a good day, much less a day on which your bone has sliced your skin open from the inside out? Would you pffft hell, high water and pain pills? It’s futile, friends. There can be only one Poppy.

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