Incidentally, accidents do happen

We were loading some grands into the car for a long weekend at our house when one of the girls handed me an envelope containing cash. “Mom says this is for accidentals.”

I asked if she meant incidentals and she said, no, she thought her mom said it was for accidentals.

Naturally, your first thought is: I wonder what they plan on breaking? Furniture? Dishes, maybe?

Hopefully, not one of their bones.

Or one of my bones.

But this isn’t a group that tends to wreak havoc.

That said, there are components of our larger group that would put my mind at ease if they did arrive with small claims policies in tow. Flashbacks of certain individuals falling off the porch rail, scaling trees and running barefoot on aging, uneven sidewalks swiftly come to mind.

I texted our daughter asking how wild she thought the weekend would be that she needed to send money for accidentals.

She texted that it made sense now. When she handed off the envelope, the girl had said, “You mean this money is for if we break something?”

Her mom said, “I guess, or if you want to go out for pizza.”

Breaking the back on a sofa is one thing and getting pizza is another. You’d think some clarification would have been in order.

Not long after the kids unloaded at our house, a basketball game commenced in the driveway. Naturally, this was followed by an injury.

I compared the injured ankle to the uninjured ankle. They looked similar, although the injured ankle was hot pink and starting to puff up a bit. The money for accidentals would not have covered a trip to the ER, so I declared it an incidental.

We put ice on it. Ice is free. (There would still be money for pizza.)

Ten minutes later the kid was back in the game. It truly had been an incidental.

Score one for Grandma.

Someone asked the difference between an incidental and an accidental.

“Why? Are you planning something?” I asked.

No, she just wanted to know.

There is actually a lot of overlap. Neither an incidental nor an accidental is planned, but an incidental usually has minor consequences while an accidental has more serious consequences. An incidental usually results in relatively small expense, while an accidental often results in significant expense.

There was yet another incident in which an old, heavy blind above a double-wide window fell and left a small knot on someone’s forehead. There was no significant expense involved as the better half rehung it in the brackets, announcing it wouldn’t fall if people used the correct technique for raising it.

A lively discussion ensued as to whether we should replace the old window blind or instruct everyone who enters the house on correct technique for raising it.

We were unable to classify the event as incidental or accidental, although the child clobbered by the blind classified it as painful.

We came to a consensus that what really mattered was that we still had money for pizza.



I hope you enjoy the Memorial Day holiday! The National Monument of Remembrance Act passed in 2000 asks all Americans to stop what they are doing at 3:00 pm on Memorial Day for a minute of silence to remember and honor those who died while in service. Our family has made this a tradition. We live free due to the sacrifice of others.

My dad always said he had the “perfect childhood.” My mother grew up in the same area, in the same time frame, and would just roll her eyes. They both came from large Nebraska farm families during the Depression. My dad loved being outside. He loved going without shoes all summer and checking trap lines on the way to school in the fall and winter.

This is a picture of a community threshing crew. Everyone in this photo, with the exception of two hired hands, is a relative or neighbor of my dad’s family. Little did the younger ones in this picture know that WWII would be waiting for them. The man circled on top, was  one of Dad’s cousins named Lyle Merrill. He was killed in 1941 flying over France. The next one circled is my dad. No shirt, good tan lines. He served in WWII. The one circled in front of my dad was John, one of my dad’s four brothers. John was killed in WWII on Mindanao Island in 1945.

Ordinary people doing ordinary things, called into service by their country. Some gave all. On Memorial Day, we pause and remember.

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