Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Spilled Milk

"Graceful" is NOT an adjective that is readily applied to me. I've been called elegant (once), which is close, but really only applies when I am sitting still. And not holding a drink. Or not moving my arms anywhere within arm's length of a liquid.

Tonight, I picked up a jug of milk from the table, grabbed a few other things and suddenly realized I was oh, so carefully pouring milk all over the placemats. (My dad used to call that "the lazy man's load" and discouraged me from ever using it. With good reason.)

One time, I almost knocked over a colleague's coffee mug, but caught it just in time. I then set it down, further away from my spill-inclined self, and proceeded to almost knock it down again. Said colleague was watching anxiously while all this went on.

On more than one occasion, I've been holding a glass in my hand when, for no explicable reason, I startle as if I'm about to fall over, jerk my arm, and spill the drink. This happens even before I've imbibed, so it's not alcohol-related.

Solid substances are not protected from my klutziness. One Christmas, as I lifted a delicate, heart-shaped, handpainted, blown-glass ornament out of its cocoon of paper, I commented, "I think this is my all-time favourite ornament," as I proceeded to break it to smithereens. All I could do was laugh and tell the kids they should thank their lucky stars it wasn't one of them who had broken it.

[You might think that my own tribulations would give me some degree of compassion when it comes to my kids' clumsiness. Mostly that is true, but occasionally I am a bad mommy and I forget.]

I can laugh about it now, but when I was a kid it could get a little rough. Especially since I was second-youngest of seven children, and we all know how older siblings like to razz the younger ones.

One night at dinner, after many nights of my mother uttering, "Not AGAIN!" when I knocked over my milk, I did it again. Everyone (except me) just roared with laughter at the predictability of it. But I cried.

Yes, I cried over spilled milk.

My dad, however, stopped laughing, picked me up and carried me into the living room. He wasn't angry. He just held me until I stopped crying. I can't remember what - if anything - he said, but it is one of my fondest childhood memories.

So I didn't cry over my spill tonight, but I did remember my dad, who died more than 20 years ago, and I cried, just a little, over him. Those kind of tears are worth crying.


  1. Maybe my dad won't like me telling this, but whenever I spilled something at the table as a child (which was much too frequent as well) he would call me Wynn Anne. Funny thing is I never really took it as an insult, more of a compliment really. At the very least it made me smile and laugh to be told I was like you.

  2. hahaha! That is SO funny! (And I'm glad it didn't hurt your feelings.) I'll rib Andy about it next time I see him.

  3. I truly laughed out loud at Diane's comment (after getting teary-eyed at your comments about Dad). I think there might be a genetic link in clumsiness. My most embarrasing time was while flying to Singapore. I had miraculously been bumped up into 1st class for the long flight. ME in 1st class!! I was Lucille Ball all the way, complete with dumping my wine glass on the Japanese businessman seated next to me. He was not amused!

  4. Ditto to Pat's comments: from teary-eyed at your Dad's hugs to roaring at Diane's story. Great blog, comments included!


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