By: Kent McCarty, Editor
Spring Break is a wonderful time to sleep, hang out with friends, and not be at school (most importantly). For me however, Spring Break, like any holiday, is a time for me to break things, get lost, throw up, and have inspiration for this column (most importantly). Last year, we made it to Disney World and back in one piece, so I thought surely this year would be the same. Unfortunately, for my mom’s sake, it was nothing of the sort.
Vacuum Cleaner: 1, Mom: 0
For those who don’t yet know, my mom fell down the stairs while carrying the vacuum cleaner and broke two bones in her leg at the beginning of January. After two months of recovery, she’s mobile, but not yet ready to take on the world as she was B.C. (Before Crutches). For example, we had originally planned to go to Atlanta over Spring Break but decided there was too much movement involved in the ATL. Instead, we took a short trip to Jackson on Tuesday to go to the zoo and the new childrens’ museum before my brother’s baseball game in Madison that Wednesday. Of course, a trip to the zoo would be about as feet-intensive as a trip to Atlanta, so my mom decided we needed to bust out the wheelchair. Being the loving son that I am, I volunteered to push her around as we took a “relaxing” stroll through the Jackson Zoo.
Gravity: 1, Kent: 0
The Jackson Zoo is built on the side of a mountain -one that’s quite possibly bigger than Everest itself. At the top of the mountain are several bird cages and other enclosures that are typical of any zoo. Seeing this gigantic trek in front of us, my mom and I decided that wheeling to the hilltop was not in the cards if the only benefit was catching a glimpse of the rare barn owl. Unfortunately, we later found out that the entrance to the otter enclosure was only accessible from the top of the aforementioned mountain, because the more easily reached entrance was broken (go figure). Further rationalization led us to conclude that the hike was worth the otters, so we marched on. Of course, it was worth it in the end because otters are awesome and the animated Mr. and Mrs. Beaver from “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” were also present. It wasn’t until we noticed the challenge of using a wheelchair on a steep downward slope that we began to regret visiting the furry rodents in the hilltop habitat. With great care, I slowly lowered my injured mother down the hill while she used her good leg to steady the rapid descent. Unfortunately, we lost the battle with Jackson’s Mount Vesuvius, and my mom’s wheelchair slipped from my grasp momentarily. This is where prior knowledge of my mother enhances the story: Imagine my mom, wheelchair and all, zipping down a hill with no way to stop herself. That visual will forever be engrained in my mind as my aunt and I chased the runaway chair down the hill at speeds that made cars on the interstate look like Razor scooters manned by toddlers. For the entire freefall, my mom was screaming unintelligibly, likely due to the sheer shock of the whole event. She continued down the slope until adrenaline took over, and I was able to catch up with the chair, just before she was ejected into the flamingo pen, which would have totally ruined an otherwise nice day. Needless to say, mom and I opted to sit on the beach when we got to the Children’s Museum; it sure beat the alternative of chasing her down three flights of stairs.