The scissor lift incident

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By Ken Begley

Mark Simms, a friend of Cindy and me, offered to let us use his scissor lift when our family and my now son-in-law’s family were decorating the St. Dominic gym for their wedding reception.

Mark had one stipulation; “Don’t mind loaning it, but don’t let Kenny near it or on it at any time.”

Then he mentioned something about wanting to get it back in one piece.

That Mark, he’s always a kidder.

So, a week ago I was waiting at the gym bright and early when the scissor lift and, a few minutes later, my daughter’s future in-laws, showed up for a full day of heavy duty decorating.  

Now you gotta meet the Boucherie family that hails from Henderson, Ky. They are unbelievable. The mother, Nancy, has all the talent of a Martha Stewart hyped up on steroids. The father, Gary, is an expert mechanic, carpenter, bricklayer and retired firefighter who seems to only know how to work at full bore fast. The daughter, Cindy, and my new son-in-law, Ken, inherited these talents from both sides of the family.

Now Cindy tells people that I can’t even pound dirt, let alone a nail.
Wives — what do they know?

Why, I’ve pounded dirt many times and quite a few nails. Sure, most of the nails were bent over halfway down and slanted sideways, but why quibble over insignificant facts?

Anyway, the Boucheries’ mother and daughter planned out and hand-made all the decorations from the four chandeliers to the parting gifts on the tables. It was all combat loaded on a trailer in boxes carefully labeled, and in the order they were to be used.  The GI’s in the Normandy Invasion should have had it so good.

They hit the ground running on D (Decoration) Day.  

The scissor lift Mark brought us was used to hang some 14 red-and-white four-foot wide sashes that hung from a center ring they designed in the gym to its outer edges.

The scissor lift has a battery-powered motor that propels this moving platform. The platform moves up vertically about 20 feet using linked, folding supports in a criss-cross (scissor type) style. Hence the name, scissor lift.

My son-in-law was using the scissor lift until about 2 p.m., when all the guys had to leave, except for me, to go get their tuxedos for the wedding. They were all concerned, as so much decorating was still left to do.

I don’t know why they had so much to worry about. Shoot, I was there. I did my best John Wayne imitation as I swaggered up to the platform and said “Hey guys, watch this!”

You know what?

The phrase “Hey guys, watch this” almost always ends up with someone in the hospital for six months.

But I digress.

So, take command of the controls and decided to ease the lift forward about three feet.  

Gary began to hoot and holler and wave his arms wildly about his head to encourage me. Everyone else followed suit and did the same.   

“What a supportive group,” I thought.

It was then that I noticed the right front wheel of the 2,000-pound machine was resting on Gary’s foot.

I frantically pushed levers and buttons until the great machine leaped forward and shot out the gym double doors and into the parking lot.  

You know that lift had a lot of speed for something that moves on a battery.

Father Pepper saw me coming and leaped out of the way by running up the church stairs. No doubt he suddenly remembered some poor soul he needed to pray for.

The possessed scissor lift and I proceeded down and around town, where I took out one picket fence, three tool sheds, 14 mail boxes, a telephone pole, three electrical lines and a dog house. It was after that point that I lost control.

It began to expand and contract as I rode down High Street and passed the Springfield Laundry, where Perry Thomas and J.B. Carrico happened to be standing outside. Perry seemed surprised as I made my elevated appearance. but J.B. wasn’t, and he hollered out “Bring that lift when we go groundhog hunting.”

The evil lift then swung a sharp right turn onto Lincoln Park Road as I hung on for dear life. It kept going in that direction until it found Mark Simms’ house. Mark happened to be watering flowers when the machine decided to play “Ring Around the Rosies” with him as the 2,000-pound lift bore down. No doubt it was justified retribution for putting such a complicated machine in the hands of someone so incompetent.

Eventually the lift found its way back to the St. Dominic gym safe and sound, and no worse for the wear, if I might add. It may not have been in one piece, but the parts that fell off during the ride were obviously non-essential.  

My son-in-law’s sister Cindy quickly jumped on the lift and completed the rest of the work.

Oddly, the lift seemed to be rather docile under her control.

No doubt I had worked all the “kinks” out for her during my shakedown cruise about town.

The remainder of the afternoon was uneventful.

(Writer’s note:  The above events happened just the way I related except where I exaggerated, stretched the truth, weaved in falsehoods, or told outright lies during 99.99% of the story.  The other 0.01% is pretty much factual. That is I did borrow a scissor lift.)