The Summer Crutch (A Cock-Tale)

On Saturday I returned from an end-of-summer mid-Atlantic vacation. I spent the first few days in Baltimore catching up with friends; playing a boozy 18 holes of mini golf; and dining obscenely well on roadside barbecue, high-end sushi, whole lobster, and an excess of bone marrow prepared on the grill.

This was followed by a delightful week in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, where I rented a house with a handful of friends. We spent our days sunning, swimming, reading, dozing, and biking. Evenings were reserved for grilling, the occasional amusement park foray, and cocktailing. One of my housemates takes her adult beverages quite seriously and came equipped to prepare about 20 different classic cocktails for which I would have gladly (and, in many cases, already had) forked over $14 a pop. Among my favorites were the Hemingway Daiquiri and the Enzoni.



It was a truly blissful week. Between the sun, the surf, and the endless stream of cocktails, I was almost able to forget about the nagging pain in my right ankle.

A week before leaving town, I had taken a nasty spill. I wish I had a better story. But the reality is that it was early in the morning, I was distracted, and I was wearing platform heels. My full cup of coffee splattered across the pavement just in time for my hair to land in it. When I pulled myself together enough to stand, I had a bloody knee, a rather sore ankle, and a busy day ahead of me. So I hobbled to the subway.


The next week was a blur of rest, ice, compression, elevation, and grant writing. My ankle didn’t look so good but, after a couple of days, an ace bandage and a limping gait got me where I needed to go. I hauled my overstuffed suitcase down to Baltimore on the bus. I played the aforementioned mini golf. I taught a five-year-old with bouncy curls how to cha-cha. I took a few late night bike rides down to the state park. I stumbled through sand. I doggie paddled. I drove a bumper car.

Around the two-week mark, my limp was just about gone and the bruising had migrated to just below my toes. But I still didn’t feel comfortable without a brace. And then there were those strange intermittent stabbing pains I was starting to notice. I told myself that, if it wasn’t better by Labor Day, I would seek medical care.

Yesterday was my first day back in the office. I spent the morning sifting through my email. Around lunchtime I walked up to the urgent care center on 14th Street. I explained that I had fallen and hurt my ankle, was pretty sure it was a sprain, but thought it best to have an x-ray just in case. The attending doctor was nice and seemed willing to humor me. Three x-rays and less than 15 minutes later, she walked back into the exam room and told me that I had, in fact, broken my ankle. It is hard to say who was more surprised.

Before I knew it, she had outfitted me with a neon peach temporary cast, a set of crutches, and instructions to follow up with an orthopedist. Less than an hour after entering the urgent care center, I left. Only this time I couldn’t walk. I gingerly crutched my way to the curb and flagged down a cab to take me back the six blocks I had just walked with almost no difficulty.

ImageBy the time I made it home and up the two flights of stairs last night, I was feeling rather sorry for myself. Clearly I was deserving of a cocktail. But these damn crutches make everything a challenge.

The Summer Crutch

  1. Position yourself in the dead center of your kitchen and prop your crutches carefully against the kitchen counter. (If they fall, it is a royal pain in the ass to retrieve them.)
  2. Take two hops toward the refrigerator and pull an ice cube tray out of the freezer, praying that the one you can reach is not empty.
  3. Hop back to the kitchen counter and fill one of the jelly jars that you compulsively hoard with as much ice as it will hold. Consider refilling the tray and returning it to the freezer before realizing that this is an impossibility.
  4. Pour a generous shot of the Buffalo Trace bourbon left from vacation into the jar. Contemplate your current situation and add a little more.
  5. Hop back to the refrigerator and grab the black cherry juice generously left by your cat sitter.
  6. Hop back to the counter and fill the rest of the jelly jar with the juice. Give it a swirl with your finger and taste.
  7. Attempt to add your homemade grapefruit bitters, but discover that the cap is on far too tight. Add a couple dashes each of the orange and rhubarb bitters or whatever else you can reach without standing on the kitchen stool (also an impossibility though, now that you think of it, it may come in handy when you attempt to shower).
  8. Screw the lid on tight and stuff your cocktail into the pocket of your caftan. (A caftan with pockets has got to be one of the best inventions ever.)
  9. Crutch your way to the couch, gingerly drop down, and retrieve your freshly shaken cocktail.

The Summer Crutch is mean to be slugged directly out of the jar while staring ruefully at your cast. I do not have a photo of this refreshing beverage, as I forgot to put my phone in my other caftan pocket and there was no way I was getting up again until absolutely necessary.