Pappy and the Power Saw


As related to me by my daughter, with bits of artistic license stirred in.
(She says it happened pretty much the way I wrote it)

Louisa, aged six, draws kid pictures on a yellow pad in her Pappy’s living room while her Pappy reads the Encyclopedia Britannica and sips on a scotch on the rocks.

2063542902_4eb7b28157_z_mod2Little Louisa feels an itch in her full-length leg cast, and pokes a ball-point pencil down inside to scratch it. The cap comes off and drops down inside the cast just below her hip. She struggles to get her hand inside to retrieve it, but she can’t reach it. “Pappy, Pappy, I can’t get it out, it went down there,” she points, “and now I can’t get it.”

Pappy lays aside his encyclopedia, puts his scotch carefully onto a coaster, and lifts little Louisa onto his knees. They both try to get the cap out without any luck. Finally, he lifts her by her ankles upside down while she laughs, and tries to shake it out, but it’s lodged tightly and won’t move.

He puts her back down, and she begins to cry. Pappy is very sympathetic, but he is also very worldly-wise. He says, “Come out here to the garage with me and let’s see if we can’t do something.” He clears a space on his workbench, lifts the little girl up, and sits her amongst the screwdrivers and pliers.

“Now lie back there, and let’s try this.” He holds up a rotary power saw and pulls the trigger switch. The saw winds up into a high-pitched whine, then winds down again.

Little Louisa is suddenly very fearful, but she trusts her Pappy and knows that he would never hurt her, so she lies still while he begins running the power saw, ever so carefully, up the front of the cast. “Now keep real still,” he says, passing her knee. “Almost done,” he says as he grinds through the last two inches below her hip.

Finally it’s through, with a cut all the way from ankle to hip, but the cast doesn’t come off yet. “Hmmm. Have to make another cut. Turn over on your stomach, sweetie, and we’ll go up the back.” Again the saw whines and grinds up the full length of her tender little leg, millimeters from the flesh, but she loves her Pappy and trusts him and his worldly-wise ways, and doesn’t protest too much, only muttering and whimpering a little.

Finally he pushes the saw through the last few inches, and the cast falls apart in two pieces. “There,” Pappy says brightly. “And look, here’s the cap!” He stoops to get it where it’s rolled off the bench onto the floor. She is a happy little girl now, but then she wonders, “Pappy, what about my cast? Will Mommy be mad?”

“Well, we’ll just see about that,” Pappy smiles. “Lie still again and we’ll take care of it.” He fits the two pieces back together snugly on her leg, and winds duct tape around and around, ankle to hip. Finally he’s done. “There, little girl,” he says in the gruff voice that is his way of showing how fond he is of his pretty little granddaughter, “Good as new.” He raps it with his knuckles, and it is on good and tight. “Does it feel all right?”

Louisa inspects the tape-wrapped cast. “Yes, Pappy,” she answers, but a crease in her brow shows that she has some misgivings. “But what about Mommy?” Pappy smiles. He is a very wise man.

He glances sidewise conspiratorially, left and right, through narrowed eyes, then whispers with mischief in his voice, “Now we don’t have to tell your Mama about this, right?”

Photo credits:
Power Saw: Tony Taylor
Leg Cast (modified): Exceed Worldwide via / CC BY-NC

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