MY FIRST BRONC RIDE
By Kat Stickroth
In keeping with the Bible’s saying, “A merry heart does good, like a medicine…,” the local hospital has acquired something which incorporates humor to enable a speedy recovery for its patients.
As a hospitalized friend rested nearby, I sat in one of the tan leather recliners accenting the room.
Not finding a lever on either side, I spied its cord plugged into the wall. The remote was found in the depths of the cushion. I pressed what I thought was the appropriate button.
The back reclined to nearly horizontal, though my feet stayed on the floor. Stretched out like a deer ready to be gutted, I felt for another button because I couldn’t raise myself to get a sure look at the remote. Up I went, back to square one.
I reviewed the buttons again, certain I could figure this out- I was an engineer, after all. But in the pressing of the next button, I left that career and became a bronc buster.
My feet flew up with my knees nearly knocking my teeth out. Off balance, I threw up my right hand in proper style and inadvertently pressed another button which almost launched me into a somersault over the back of the chair.
My natural inclination was to exit the beast, but it refused to turn me loose. The rodeo continued as I frantically mashed every button.
My friend, who had been sleeping, awakened to the buzzing of the chair’s motor off and on, coupled with unbridled curses that flew from my direction. I don’t normally talk that way, being a writer who cherishes words. But for this moment that colorful language was the extent of my vocabulary.
“What are you DOING?” she queried.
I didn’t have time to talk, because the ride was on. She observed for a few minutes then broke into the giggles. I started laughing too, initially making things worse. Whenever I laugh too hard, my eyes squint shut.
The blindness turned into a blessing, however. I dropped the remote, and the buckskin bronc finally settled down. My feet were raised in thanksgiving and praise, with my head nearly touching the floor.
Fashioning some kind of roll where I piled onto the floor, I felt like kissing the ground.
“I think I went past 8 seconds,” I gasped.
By then we were in such hysterics, I had to remind my friend she was sick and to act accordingly. Very soon she was released from the hospital.
I was glad to be a part of my friend’s cure, but now when visiting patients, I stand by the bed and warily eye the bronc’s invitation for another ride.
Originally published December 16, 2016 in the La Grande Observer newspaper. Reprinted with permission.