Have you ever seen that episode of Gunsmoke called “Hard Luck Henry”?
What happens is, Hard Luck Henry Haggens shows up in Dodge needing help from his cousin Festus, and everyone Henry encounters has bad luck.
Festus simply finds out he’s in town and hits his head and then falls into a water trough. And it just keeps going.
Well, I watched that episode and now I stand as living proof that The Hard Luck Henry Effect is not confined to the 1967 Gunsmoke episode in which it was chronicled.
After watching the show, I fell asleep when I tucked Alyssa in (that never happens), and thereby did not put the clothes that were in the washing machine into the dryer.
The clothes that were in the washing machine included every pair of jeans that Dylan owns.
The next morning I overslept. I woke Dylan up 20 minutes before he had to be at the bus stop. It was then I realized all his jeans were wet. And wet jeans won’t dry in 20 minutes.
I put two pairs in to dry anyway, just in case a dryer miracle might occur.
Dylan took the news that he had no pants very well. But then the frantic attempt began to find something acceptable to wear, during which time I learned there is a strict, unspoken dress code in middle school. (Corduroy is not advised).
Already late for the bus, I checked the dryer one last time, and one pair was dry. Mostly. Well, sort of. He opted for those instead of his canvas (not corduroy!!) pants, and doing so made us even later. Somehow, we still made the bus.
I felt relieved for all of five minutes, until I found his English project on the kitchen table. His class website said it was due that day (I checked), so I emailed the teacher to be sure. She replied and said it was due the following day. Whew!
But taking the time to do all the checking and emailing made me late waking up Wyatt and Alyssa. Which made them late getting ready. Which made us late leaving for the bus. (Again.)
We were halfway there, five minutes late (which we all know is way late in bus time), when Alyssa announced she forgot an assignment. I turned around, knowing we’d never make the bus. But guess what? The bus was late! And they didn’t miss it. I still don’t know how that happened.
I thought it was over when I got home, and considered going to bed just to be sure nothing else could go wrong.
But I didn’t go to bed, and in just a few minutes, it started snowing.
Then I dropped eggshells into my scrambled eggs while they were cooking. Twice.
My printer stopped working.
Then my homemade pizza dough wouldn’t rise.
I used all my yeast in the pizza dough (which didn’t rise anyway, that was useless) and couldn’t bake bread for school lunches.
I realized I hadn’t bought Dylan a report cover for his project (which really was due the next day) and it was too late to go get one.
We forgot to study for Alyssa’s spelling test, and remembered that she hadn’t washed her hair when she was already in her pajamas and ready to go to sleep.
I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to go to bed. It could only get better after a day like that.
And you know what happened?
I got the best night’s sleep.
I woke up and the first thing that came into my mind (when I wasn’t even trying!) were our yearly tax reports–each of which is stored in a clear report folder just like Dylan needed for his project.
Things were looking up.
On my first trip to the bus stop, I saw the tractor had been left in a field near our house overnight, and no one was around (very strange). Bill, our neighbor and a member of the staff here, had been using it to bush hog some of the park’s fields yesterday. In fact, I had seen him and waved.
On my second trip to the bus stop I saw why the tractor was sitting there. One of the back tires was half buried in mud, and the whole thing was tilting backward. By that time, the entire park maintenance crew was there doing the heave-ho to pull it free.
I couldn’t help smiling all the way back home. I might’ve had a series of unfortunate events, but at least I didn’t need seven other people to pull me out of the mire. Plus, I was pretty sure that my hard luck streak was gone, passed right on down the line with a seemingly harmless little wave that stopped Bill dead in his tracks.
Just call me Hard Luck Jenny.
Poor guy. He never knew what hit him.