Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal

They Shoot Horses, Don't They?

Mickie McGee

If I were a horse, I would have been shot by now.

Everything about me is either wearing out or falling off. I understand that the longer one lives, one can expect one’s body to deteriorate a little and need minor repairs now and then.

I am scheduled, however, for a major overhaul: tire rotation; dent suction, new shocks, and an oil change. Of course, thank God, not all at once.

This Thursday I am scheduled for knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus, a body part, I might add, I didn’t even know I had.

“Because of your age and your activity over the years,” the doctor said, “your knee parts are wearing down; bone is now scraping against bone, which is causing your discomfort.”

Discomfort? I bet if it were his knee, he wouldn’t call it discomfort. He’d describe the pain in much more glowing terms.

Funny thing is, I never really expected my knees, of all my body parts, to let me down. Believe it or not when I was younger I was quite the athlete.

I was in the only one in our neighborhood who could walk barefooted, up on my toes, with my toes turned under, on the cement in front of the courthouse.

I could shimmy up the swing poles faster than anybody on our block and could contort my body in a thousand positions on the monkey bars. I could roller skate like a pro (do they have pro-roller skating?) and stand up on my bicycle while steering it with one hand.

I tap danced, I shagged, I stood on my head, I bore three children, and, as a middle-aged woman, I snow skied under duress.

And, to the amazement of all my over-the-hill friends, up until a couple of months ago I could still sit “Indian style,” and did so every time I sat down. It didn’t look very ladylike in church but, hey, it was comfortable, and I was quite proud of my agility.

When I was in my forties I ran in two 10K races and didn’t do that badly either. Hubby won first place in the Male Geezer category, but I was only maybe forty-five minutes behind him.

I admit I was somewhat embarrassed one year running in Augusta’s Channel 6 Turkey Trot. I had made it through town, down around Sand Bar Ferry Road, and back again, almost to the finish line, when a lady, probably in her eighth month of pregnancy, flew by me at lightning speed.

Not my greatest moment.

At this venture in my life, however, as the doctor said, I am in the process of wearing out and, yes, it’s depressing. “Mrs. McGee,” he said, “did you realize that beneath your knee your left leg has grown west instead of south?”

I wasn’t aware of this of course, since I never felt the need to check it out according to a compass, but if he said so….

“Obviously, you have sustained some injury to your knee in the past, and if we don’t repair it now you will soon be walking on one foot and have an unsightly tibia sticking out to the left which might trip up people as you pass them.”

No, I don’t think that’s exactly how he explained it but that’s the way I heard it. At any rate, I opted for the surgery. I have enough problems without making enemies of people by cutting them off at the knees with my misshapen appendage.

“If you’d just lose some weight,” says my husband, the amateur physician, “you wouldn’t have these problems.” No, I guess not,” I tell him. “Nor, according to you, would I have back pain, headaches, heart palpitations, toe corns, shortness of breath, arthritic hands, be unable to balance my checkbook, or make a lousy chicken casserole . . . none of this if I would just lose some weight. “

So what if I have to organize my pills in one of those plastic Monday through Friday thingies. If I hurt, I sometimes take a pill. My daddy, the druggist, always said, “That’s what they’re for; if you need them, then take them.” And, God rest his soul, I do.

Hubby takes one pill for blood pressure and I honestly hope he never has to take another. He will take an aspirin now and then but that’s about it, and I’m thrilled. He’s a healthy guy and I’m hoping to have him around for at least another forty years, or until I croak, whichever comes first.

In my defense, I have never abused drugs, I haven’t ever touched a drop of alcohol (Well, there was that time in Key West, but I swear I thought it was lime juice!), and I have not snorted, shot up, or smoked anything, ever. I have, however, had more than my share of boiled peanuts and country-fried steak. So, sue me.

In the next few months, I am scheduled for cataract surgery, my regular hormone shots, a female procedure that will go unmentioned, and who knows what else. But first things first: the knee.

I don’t look forward to it. I’ll be glad when it is over. It will be painful and I don’t like being put to sleep. I dislike being “out of commission” even more.

And next time, I’m going to find an easier way to get material for this column.


Micki McGee was raised in a small town forty miles north of Augusta, Georgia. Her childhood was chock full of exciting, sometimes traumatic events and thus, her penchant for writing about them. She writes a personal column, Dear Hearts, in her weekly hometown paper.

She is the wife of a retired John Deere employee, the mother of two wonderful sons and a precious daughter-in-law, and this past February, she became grandmother to the most perfect granddaughter in the world!


© Mickie McGee

Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal ISSN 1554-8449, Copyright © 2004-2012