Once upon a time, after a dark and stormy night, when Atlanta and its suburbs were blanketed with snow, ice and whiny residents, it came to pass that my street was filled with emergency vehicles.

Now, as the favorite honorary girlchild to more than one elderly neighbor, this set my heart athumpin’. I love these people — from their invocation of the name of their savior to their suggestions for what I should do to change my career path from professionally ill — there are ladies on my street who have helped fill the void my grandparents have made with their inconvenient natural deaths.

As luck would have it, however, there was not a single old-lady-hip-breaking-ice-slipping incident. Oh, no. we save those for the young here.

Indeed, a minor house fire at a lovely family’s home down the street left everyone shaken but unstirred and safe.

Still, there were flashing lights, men in uniform and many walkie-talkies. I was worried.

So I did what I do: I cooked. I cleaned out the freezer and made winter bean & barley soup with pesto, pureed cream of spinach soup and stone soup — the best of its kind.

This is an advantageous predilection of mine. Not only does it calm my nerves and give me something to do, but it endears me even more to the lovely neighbors who, in turn, think I’m really fucking fabulous.

God, I love me.

Anyway. So. I made soup. Oohhhh, I made soup. I probably made around four gallons of soup, a Tupperware each for my ladies and one for the family of the garage fire. Oh, and for us. Lots of soup.

Around six that evening, I poured the cooling soups into their Tupperwares and set out to drive the hundred yards to the first neighbor’s house, as the roads were still very icy.

Safety first, people.

And. Then.

I stepped out of the car; I picked up the soup; I took my first step onto the driveway.

And I went down.

Spectacularly.

I landed on the tailbone bruised this fall with a tumble down the stairs.

I landed on the wrist and hand I use for writing. Which, you know, I do.

I smacked the back of my head on the car door.

And I spilled the soup.

But I didn’t just “spill.” I got soup on the roof of the car. On the back windshield. On the front windshield. In the wheel well. In the foot well. Down the side of the car. On the inside passenger door. In the groove of the window between the door and the glass.

I spilled, spectacularly.

And so, once I got over the shock of the fall and the tears of the pain — I am professionally ill, after all — I laughed. And laughed. And laughed.

And convinced some dogs to help me clean up.

I’m nothing if not practical.