Head Stands

Grandfather MacDonald broke his leg stumbling over a railroad tie while marching to the Battle of Gettysburg. He missed the battle. That set all right by him, for he was on the losing side.

“Better a bone crack than a rifle crack,” he’d say, though the leg went bad and he wore wood below the knee forever after.

After the Civil War, he married a blind woman from the North who had attended Ford’s theater the night Lincoln died.

“Didn’t see it,” she said. “Course, I’ve never seen anything, don’t know why that night’d be any different. I heard the shot, a death knell, it were.”

For five decades Grandpa MacDonald and his Yankee wife carried on a personal re-creation of the war. “Pity Booth didn’t keep shooting,” he’d say to her, “he might’ve got you.”

He belonged to the South, so towards the end he gave ground.

She took to standing on her head, thinking it’d bring vision to her blind eyes.

Grandpa MacDonald, incited by the sight of his 75-year-old wife on her head, fled to the roof, where he spent hours smoking cigars, in a temporary truce. Till the day she popped out of the roof hatch next to him and he slipped on his wooden leg, tumbled off and broke his neck. He lived long enough to say, “I knew that Yankee’d get me some day.”

We never did figure if he meant his wife or the soldier who shot him.

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Conda V. Douglas  Conda V. Douglas's website has loved to write ever since she figured out, at ten years old, it would be easier and perhaps more fun than growing up to be an alien. This story comes from an old family tale about some of the less eccentric members of her family. For more about Conda and being a creative lunatic in general visit Conda’s Creative Center.