A good reason to watch what you wish for

December 31, 2007

by Jennifer Gallus

Here’s a good “watch what you wish for” story. Last week, when I was trying to decide what to write in my column for this week, I thought it would be funny to write about my most embarrassing moments of 2007. After some consideration, I really couldn’t think of much.

Yes, I’ve done some nerdy things, and some fairly embarrassing things, but nothing really stood out. A lot of my mishaps have happened with no witnesses, which really doesn’t qualify as embarrassing, except to embarrass myself to the heavens.

Like the time I was carrying five-gallon buckets of water to the goose pen last winter, slipped on ice, and went down on my rear-end spilling one of the buckets on myself. No one else saw this, thus it mostly hurt my rear and not my pride.

I gave up on the idea, until Christmas Eve. Ahh, Christmas Eve. Mass, a spiritual and solemn time for Christian families to rejoice in Jesus’ birth, and unfortunately for me, the site of a very embarrassing moment.

My family and I had arrived about 25 minutes early to the Children’s Mass that evening. About 15 minutes before Mass, Father asked the children to come to the front of church and sit by the altar for the duration of Mass. My boys eagerly set off for the front of church, and I thought it would probably be a good time to run downstairs to the restroom. This is where it gets ugly.

I had cuffed my pants that evening because of the slush on the sidewalks and as my lead leg attempted to turn the corner out of the pew, around my husband’s legs, and into the main aisle, the cuff caught on the leg of the kneeling bench and I fell halfway into the aisle like a wounded deer.

We were sitting in the middle of the church so as I fell, I’ll never forget the sound of the back half of the congregation groaning, “Ohhhhh!”

My other leg was well behind me so I had nothing but my hand to catch my fall.

It wasn’t just a stumble, it was an all out down-like-a-buffalo fall, and it wasn’t easy to recover from because I was twisted in a L-shape with half my body in the pew and half in the aisle pointing toward the back of the church.

A good five seconds went by before I could maneuver a knee to the ground to pull myself back up. I thought maybe my husband would yank my rear back into the pew, but he didn’t. Later he told me it was because he didn’t think it would be appropriate to grab the back of my pants to help me, even though my rear was right in front of his face, and he didn’t think he should reach under me to help either because that would be another precarious spot that he’d have to grab.

So, I was on my own, and as I pulled myself up, I immediately unrolled my cuffs, pulled my jacket back down, faced the back of the church again, and walked to the bathroom with a big smile. I wanted to make a joke of it and throw my hands up and say, “I’m OK! It’s all good!”

I came back from the bathroom with my head held high, and before entering the pew, my husband said, “Wait,” as he smiled and stood up for me to get past him. We sat and giggled about it before Mass started.

I couldn’t help but think of something my mom has told me that my great-grandmother used to say, which is if someone talks about you, then you’re saving someone else from being gossiped about. I thought, “Well, people will be talking about this!”

I also tried to find the positive in that I was glad it was me and not someone else, especially an older person who wouldn’t have taken the fall very well.

My cohort, Linda Scherer, had a laugh attack when I told her about the incident. She laughed, “I’ve been a member of that parish for 30 years now and I’ve never seen anyone go down in the middle of the aisle!”

She continued laughing, “And all the Masses and Children’s Masses I’ve been to and no one has ever fallen in church – and for no reason! That’s the most packed Mass there is!”

Laughing even more hysterically she added, “And everything echoes in church. What if something would have fallen off the walls, like one of those stations of the cross!”

I wasn’t sure when the hysterical laughing would end, but I was glad to brighten up her day with this story!

This is the first time I’ve fallen in public. I’ve stumbled and caught myself, but never have gone all the way down and exposed my back side in front of bystanders.

I walk around in three- and four-inch high stiletto heels, in the snow and slush, and have managed to always stay upright, and I didn’t have my stilettos on that night. Just goes to show, God is listening, even when we’re brainstorming for ideas for work!


After Mass, I told the boys, “You missed it, mom fell down in the aisle right after you guys went to the front of church.” Then my 6-year-old said, “Yeah, I saw it - that was funny!”