A Yule That Wasn't All Peaches, Cream

Peaches and I had an adventurous holiday season, a great deal of which we would have foregone.

I was away for a few days and Peaches spent the time with Buff Benson in his hotel for dogs in Palm Desert. When I picked her up and brought her home, she showed her delight at seeing me by jumping from her favorite chair to the hassock to the love seat. For a big finish, she ran into my bedroom and jumped on my bed and then jumped to the floor in the middle of the room.

She landed wrong and, making her mouth a perfect circle, she began to scream like a banshee, sharp, penetrating screams. Peaches is a little inclined to over-dramatize, but this time I knew she was hurt.

It was Saturday, of course, because it is writ in the big book that these things only happen on weekends. I called Peaches' veterinarian's office and reached the doctor on call, David Hyde. We met him at the clinic and he examined Peaches, and told me she had torn the ligaments completely away from her knee in her right leg.

She stayed in the clinic until Monday, when Dr. Gary Homec, her regular vet, operated on her. He put an artificial ligament in. So now we both have fake knees.

I went to Buff Benson's and bought a bed for Peaches, a hollowed out cube of foam rubber covered in chintz and blue plush, very English country house-looking.

And then I made my large mistake. I lifted small but sturdy Peaches and tried to put her in her bed without touching the leg with the incision. I lowered her into the bed and kept on going--and hit the front of my head on the wall. Soon I was on my back on the floor, and Peaches was licking me.

I stayed there a while, trying to gather my wits. Then, I hitched over to my bedside table and pulled the phone off to the floor. I called poor Jean Erck, my friend in times of crisis and joy, and she was at my house in no time, accompanied by two sizable grandsons, Danny and Matt Erck from Boston, who managed to get me to my feet. We took the boys back to Jean's and went to the Eisenhower Emergency Center.

Jean and I were sitting in the quiet, pleasant waiting area when the door opened and a young man came in bleeding from here and there. As he came toward us, he announced, "He hit me with a shovel." Behind him was another youth, also bleeding, who announced, "I hit him with the shovel and he shot me." Then the formerly quiet room was bulging with young people, male and female.

Then in came a police officer, asking, "Who's the suspect?" (He seemed to have a richness of suspects.)

Meanwhile, I knew no one would see me while all the blood was flowing from the featured players.

Eventually, a nurse escorted me to a treatment room, where I waited until a good-looking, amiable doctor named Mark Benson came in. He had me follow his finger with my eyes, and I must have passed the test because he said, "You've had a bad bump, but I'm not going to do anything because there is no serious damage."

Dr. Benson and I exchanged holiday good wishes and Jean took me home. I found out the next day that I had had excellent attention from Dr. Benson.

My face is black and yellow now and still to come are green and purple. My friends have graciously told me it is hardly noticeable. Not unless you normally are surrounded by people who look like Freddie Krueger.

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