Sir William Connor was a British journalist who wrote a regular column from 1935 to 1967 for The Daily Mirror under the inspired pen name “Cassandra.” His column was suspended temporarily during the Second World War. When it resumed, he began his first column with “As I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted….” My lack of Facebook posts was not, of course, the result of another world war. Rather, the “endless busyness of the world” in the words of the great Tang dynasty poet Tu Fu. As well, since late November, there has been the work of recovering and rehabbing from knee replacement surgery.
Many people, hearing about my surgery, want to know why I needed it. Sometimes I hark way back to early childhood and my love of jumping out of trees, and the countless hours in a Yogi Berra catcher’s crouch playing toss or a shortstop’s stoop on the diamond. Then there were the teen-age leaps from the front porch roof outside my second story bedroom window to the lawn when I snuck out at night. Advice: bend your knees as you land, and roll. (There were porch columns to shimmy back up.) And trying to emulate my short, thin grandfather, proud of his small man’s strength, by hoisting fifty pound bags of fertilizer, potatoes, and cement mix on my shoulder.
Other times when asked, I cut to the chase of football injuries to that knee in my junior and senior high school years. Meniscus tears, damaged cartilage. The doctors told me to give it two, preferably three, weeks rest. But that would mean missing the rest of the season. I wrapped the knee in Ace bandages, mega-iced afterward, and dosed myself generously with Aspirin. I’m fine coach, thanks.
This was followed by a full life of backpacking, basketball, tennis, soccer, cross-country skiing in the British Columbia mountains, carrying roofing shingles up ladders, and countless moves (my own and friends’) involving the schlepping of book cartons. But the primary cause may be the several adolescent years I spent as a devout Anglo-Catholic altar boy – all that genuflecting and kneeling.
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