Thursday, April 12, 2012


Monica Lawson  April 2012

When life gives you sticks and stones and dandelions
you gather the stones to put in the fish pond,
gather dandelion leaves for a home-grown salad,
and play fetch with the stick.
It reminds me of the old saying that
we've all heard,
"When life gives you lemons
you make lemonade!"

True Story, Baja Mexico around 1989:
Monica and Carol, two "gringa yachties" off to Cabo to spend a day
shopping and seeing the sights of the small, quaint
Mexican village, leaving our husbands aboard to
do whatever husbands do when they
get rid of their wives for a shopping event.
We looked forward  to shopping and eating our way through town at the local vendors:
fish tacos, esquisitos, home-made guacamole and chips.
Rowing to shore was the first step to get from our
boats anchored in the harbor
to tying them at the dinghy dock,
then a short stroll to town.
Backpacks are strapped on to carry
our "treasures" back to the boats.
The unofficial/official attire for Gringas strolling around a Baja town in those days was
 modest cotton pants and shirt or skirt and blouse,
 a big straw hat to ward off the near 100 degree weather, backpack to carry passports, hand-held radios and money along with bottled water - and to stuff all the goodies into it for the walk home -  tough leather sandals strapped on, sunscreen lathered on exposed skin,
and a camera dangling from a chord around your neck.

We tied our dinghies to the dock and walked a few yards to the side street leading to town.
Monica, chatting up with Carol, wasn't paying attention and stepped off the crumbling curb .....
SPLAT! ended up flat on her back and a painfully twisted ankle.
Can you say embarrased!

"No, I'm fine ... I'm fine....
I'll just....."
grunt and groan, pain!
"I'll be okay ... just help me get .....OWWWW!"
That didn't work.
A taxi driver saw my dilemna and came to my rescue.
Mexican men are so gallant.
Carol called over her hand-held radio,
"Kharah .... Kharah. Come in Eldon!"
No answer.
She tried again and still no reply.
He was taking his usual siesta with the radio off.
She made a general announcement to the yachty fleet anchored in the bay of my
misstep and necessity to take a taxi ride to the local doctor.
"And would someone go to Kharah and let Eldon know
that Monica has to get her ankle  ....... oh wow! It's really swollen now!"

Taxi driver spoke no English.
I spoke Spanglish.
Together with hand signals and the painful look and sounds coming out of me  
and  my elephant-sized ankle,
the taxi driver said, "Doctor ahora, Senorita. No problemo!"
I loved the way Mexican men called all women Senorita!
No matter what age you are.

Straight away to El Doctor. The taxi driver let us know he would wait -
no flag running.
El Doctor spoke very little English, but his sense of direction which led
him directly to my ankle needed no interpretation.
"No ..... (he made the strangest ggggggggg sound while twisting
his hands as if breaking something) " I gathered him to mean
it wasn't broken. At the time, Cabo San
Lucas didn't have the
luxury of x-ray equipment.
A few quick turns of an ace bandage and I was fit to return to the streets.
"Mucho hielo ...... umm, ice. Mucho ice!" he instructed.
The taxi driver made more money from this escapade
than did the doctor!

Taxi ride back to dinghy dock to be greeted by a distraught
Eldon getting ready to find his damsel in distress.
The ride back in the dinghy and climb aboard Kharah
was not the most pleasant part of this mis-adventure ....
my ankle was beginning to complain .... a LOT!
Pour down the Ibuprofin and sit back on the settee with
foot up on a pillow. Now ... I could get used to this!

"The doctor said I should put ice on my ankle ... lots and lots of ice,"
I told Eldon.
"Yeah right! Sure ... ice.," he said, and opened  then glanced
down into the empty ice chest
(we didn't have refrigeration aboard our small Tahiti sailboat.)
Knock, knock, knock we heard on the hull of the boat.
It was our neighboring yachty with a bucket full of ice!

Gracious thanks and hugs all around, they left and Eldon resumed
taking charge of the medical emergency.
Whew! It sure was hot!!
Sweat- pouring - into- and- stinging- your- eyes hot.
And thirsty! Man, never before had that kind of thirsty.

"Could I have some water, honey?" I asked Eldon.
"And would you squeeze a little lime into  ....."
Blink .... bloink!!!
When life gives you lemons in the form of a
badly twisted ankle,
you pack some of the ice around the injury,
and with the rest..........
make lemonade.

So you see,
after I finished the painting,
"Sticks and Stones and Dandelions"
how I just naturally recalled
making the best of a bad situation
from my past cruising life.
Sticks and stones and broken bones .....
kind of has a ring to,
wouldn't you say?