Tom the Fiddler and I noodled around playing fiddle-and-banjo tunes in his shack overhanging the North Toe. We each had one eye out the window, watching for Andy the Guitarist’s old brown Ford pickup. This was odd. Andy was never late for rehearsal. Music was his numero dos passion. His numero uno passion was raising his two fearsomely intelligent, accomplished, and assertive daughters, in partnership with his fearsomely intelligent, accomplished, and assertive wife.
Finally the dear old truck rolled into the yard. Tom and I put our instruments down and walked out to greet Andy, who was moving uncharacteristically slowly.
He had his back to us, as he got his guitar out of the vehicle. Then he turned around.
His nose, generally a bit on the petite side, was first of all smooshed all over his face. You really couldn’t tell where it began or where it ended, it was squashed so flat. Then there were the two black eyes and the split lip. Regardless of all this, he was grinning like a possum.
“Andy! What the hell happened to your face!?” Tom and I shouted in unison.
“Olivia happened to my face,” said Andy, grinning wider.
Olivia is his younger daughter. She is a fast-pitch softball star. She goes to fast-pitch camp every year. At age 11, she was feared by every team in the region.
“The catcher was sick today, so I stood in. Or rather, my nose stood out. She lobbed one over and I was sure the batter was going to hit it, but she struck, and I didn’t have my mitt up, and, well….as you see….” We stood around him nodding gravely. We saw. ”Sorry I’m late,” he added, heading to the shack with his axe in hand.
“That’s OK. I’m amazed they let you out of the emergency room so fast, though. Was the ENT already there?” said practical Dr. Laura.
“Hell no, I haven’t been to the ER. I can’t be late for practice. I’ll let my wife the nurse practitioner deal with it when I get home. The reason I’m late is that the ball knocked me out cold and it took awhile for me to come around, what with cold water on the face and ice bags, all that stuff. I finally got right enough to drive, and high-tailed it over here. Good thing I didn’t get a ticket to boot. I have never been known to miss a rehearsal.”
Tom and I looked at each other and shrugged, and we headed into the shack and rehearsed same as usual. We had a gig coming up, so we had to be on top of our game. After we finished up, and Andy was putting his guitar back in its case, something struck me like a fast-ball.
Olivia! How must she be feeling, having knocked her dad out and smashed his face into mush???
“Andy,” I asked anxiously, “What about Olivia? She must be awfully shook up about this.”
Andy shrugged. ”Yeah, she was. She does feel mighty bad about it. She was crying when I came around after being knocked out, but you know what? As soon as I could stand up I gave her a big hug, put my arm around her and said, “That’s the ticket, kiddo. You throw like a girl!”