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Published June 08, 2013, 11:32 PM

Coming Home: Mishaps provide plenty of stories

I’m accident-prone. Klutzy. Awkward. Graceless. It’s no secret. If you know me, you’ve witnessed it. It’s a quality I’ve possessed since my first trip to the emergency room at 10 years old after my entry in the local youth rodeo went wrong.

By: Jessie Veeder, INFORUM

I’m accident-prone. Klutzy. Awkward. Graceless.

It’s no secret. If you know me, you’ve witnessed it. It’s a quality I’ve possessed since my first trip to the emergency room at 10 years old after my entry in the local youth rodeo went wrong.

And it’s stuck with me throughout the years, a broken finger here, a twisted ankle there, a bump on the head from sneezing into a table and understanding that when I step out of a booth at a restaurant, the high heels I haven’t worn for months likely will send me face first, skirt up, in a room full of strangers.

Yes, I live my life understanding this about myself, so after years of suffering from these familiar mishaps, if I’m not hurt too bad, I’ve learned to laugh.

It’s pretty funny most of the time, especially when the embarrassing or life-threatening situation is in your past and you’ve come out on the other end alive.

Because we all need stories that begin with an ordinary day and end with a broken arm and death defied. We all need reasons for our cousins to give us nicknames like “Tuck ‘n Roll.”

So, here we go, I was 13 and helping my dad get the horses in from the big pasture where they were grazing a long way from home. We took the pickup and a couple grain buckets out to call them in, but when they ignored our coaxes, we were forced to improvise.

Dad suggested I lead the horses to the barnyard by getting on my old red mare and riding her in. The fact that we didn’t pack a bridal on this quest made me a little nervous, but it didn’t deter my father. He was a rancher used to working with limited supplies, so he fashioned one out of an old piece of twine.

Well, you can see where this is going, a young, gangly girl on the back of a mare in a herd of 10 horses that had been out on green grass for a week.

Nothing could possibly go wrong.

I pointed that horse toward the barn, starting at a walk before she began to pick up the pace; working herself up to a trot and then a full-out run as I clung to her bare back and pulled frantically on my homemade bridal.

But it was no use. The loop that had once been strung around that horse’s nose had adjusted in the commotion and I now was attempting to gain control of a 1,200 pound animal with a mind of her own using a piece of string connected to nothing but air while the rest of the horses followed behind, bucking, kicking, snorting and stomping as I tried to remain calm in the middle of a stampede.

I was certain death was upon me, so I quickly weighed my options before making the final decision to bail, as if hitting the ground on purpose couldn’t possibly be as life-altering as hitting it by accident.

Turns out hitting the ground is hitting the ground, especially when you abandon all protective moves designed to save your fragile body, like, you know, “tucking” and “rolling.”

But that’s what I did. I hit the ground. Hard.

And I broke my wrist, spent an evening in surgery, a summer in a cast, and currently am in the middle of a life where the use of my left arm is limited, especially when the humidity’s high and a storm’s brewing, an old injury flare-up that I hold responsible for the incident that ended with my head stuck in a ladder a few years back.

Yes, I’m accident-prone. It’s a quality I’ve accepted and one that recently has found me tipped over backwards in a bucket full of grout-water and overflowing my gas tank at the local Cenex in the pouring rain while a trucker munching on a Snickers bar sauntered over to my side to declare my mishap an environmental hazard.

I would have told him he’s an environmental hazard if the years haven’t proved over and over again that it’s true. The hazard is me.

Yes, we all need embarrassing stories, I’m just lucky enough to get a new one every week.

Jessie Veeder is a musician and writer living with her husband on a ranch near Watford City, N.D. Readers can reach her at jessieveeder@gmail.com.

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