We have very good friends that we have known since we moved to the town we live in about 24 years ago. The mom was going back to school since her oldest was in high school and her younger two were not in school yet. Her youngest daughter and my oldest daughter were close in age but because of hour their birthdays fell, they were a year apart in school. I would watch hers a lot when she had school and other times she would watch mine. When needed her teenage daughter would babysit my older two. We all lived in the same neighborhood.
When their oldest was a senior they moved back to their home state of Kentucky and their oldest moved in with us to finish high school and lived with us until she married her husband the next year. The family eventually moved back to Georgia when the younger two were in high school but no longer lived in our neighborhood so we had grown apart somewhat, but, when they youngest graduated from high school we did go over to their house for her graduation party.
Their “new” house had a three part deck across the entire back of the house. The lowest part was on the highest ground and was therefore only about a foot or so off the ground at that side of the house and gradually was higher and higher until the highest third of the deck was at least a full story from the ground. The outside wall of the deck had a built in bench all the way around it.
We had gotten there a little early so we could help set up. We had set out tables and chairs to sit at to eat and tables against the inside wall (next to the house) to set the food on. We had just finished making the punch, putting the food out on the tables and I had just set the cake down and my friend was starting her “Welcome to my daughter’s graduation party speech”, when I felt this strange shift. I had my head bowed because my friend was starting a prayer before the meal. When I felt the shift I looked up and caught my husband’s eye. He and my middle daughter were sitting on the top rail of the deck with their feet resting on the seat part. We were on the highest part of the deck.
Anyway… shift…glance up and then…VERY loud and almost seemed in slow motion. The next thing I know we’re on the ground. My husband and daughter are now standing but are stuck between the tables and the outside rail of the deck. I am half sitting/laying on the OTHER side of the tables ON TOP OF THE CAKE…… yes… of ALL places to land…. I landed ON the cake. I was so concerned at first trying to get UP and get the table off #2 so that she could get free and so I could make sure she wasn’t hurt that I didn’t even notice that I was bleeding.
To top it off… I was covered from head to toe, my whole back and MOST of my front with the icing from the cake and the cake itself. I couldn’t even tell WHERE I was bleeding from! My friends son was about a ½ mile away at a friend’s house and he HEARD the deck fall and came running home when he heard the sirens. I think there were between 30 and 50 people on the deck. It had been raining off and on for about 2 weeks so the wood was wet and weakened. I guess the combination of the wet wood and all those people was just too much for that deck to take.
It was the oddest sensation. Right before it fell it was almost like a little tremor went through my body, which is why I looked up at my husband. Considering how many people were there and on the deck we were all incredibly lucky. In fact, one woman had just poured a whole glass of soad and had take one sip when the deck fell and she landed, still standing, still holding her glass of soda and never spilled a drop! weird, huh?
I think the only “real” injuries were that the next door neighbor broke her ankle, the party girl sprained her back and then the cuts and scrapes and bruises that various people had. Ended up that I had a few cuts and punctures on my lower legs (I guess from exposed nails) and a nerve on my big toe on my left foot was severed so that even now, about 10 years later, I still don’t really have any feeling in that toe. It’s weird. I feel very fortunate that we had no more injuries than we did.
They ended up rescheduling the party for about two weeks later at a local park but I just couldn’t bring myself to go. I should have but I was a little gun shy, or shall we say “deck” shy? Some people jump OUT of cakes? Apparently I just fall ON them! So you don’t have to tell me “let them eat cake”, I’ll just wear mine home!