It was meant to be a great day on the water for my parents, a December outing to take advantage of fair weather.
We pulled High Cotton to Southport, planning a sail to Bald Head Island and lunch there.
Remember the ditty about the "three-hour cruise?"
The disaster happened before we got into the water, however. In the course of rigging the boat, I lost concentration for a second and stepped back.
Right into the open hatch.
It wasn't a long fall, but an awkward one. I slammed my head into something and came down hard on my back on the aluminum boom still inhabiting the cabin floor.
There's something particularly terrifying about taking your hand away from the pain at the back of your head to see it covered with blood. That and excruciating pain in my hip had me headed to Dosher Memorial Hospital as soon as I could hobble down the ladder.
The folks at Dosher - a small, community-owned hospital - were great, and had me through X-ray and CAT scans and stitched up in a short while. They even let me sleep on the gurney when the pain shot kicked in.
Nothing permanently damaged, except my pride. I've been a bit foggy the past week, and have learned exactly what muscles allow for walking, sitting, standing and bending.
I guess I'm a slow learner. It took a couple of hard whacks from the boom to remind me to keep my head down. Now I'll remember to watch my feet.
And we did make it to Bald Head - that next day. I wasn't much use in sailing but the winds were light and we motor-sailed much of the way.