Well folks… when I’m wrong I say I’m wrong and until you prove it I will simply say I was mistaken.
I need to print a retraction from a previous story. It seems that in my last post when I suggested that Papaw’s little brother ended up in the hospital from getting run over by a tractor, being kicked by a mule, and by swallowing a whole bottle of Tylenol; one of those was not entirely true. Turns out, he didn’t bust his stomach from being kicked by a mule. He ruptured it from falling out of a tree and then Papaw carted him back to humanity on the back of a pony. My memory just adjusted some of the facts. His brother also did not go to the hospital after being run over by a tractor. His parents inspected the wounds made by steel blades that churn the earth and determined they were probably superficial. He did get his cuts treated with “blue medicine”. I will also assume that he got a standard issue “ass whipping”. Whiskey is the only other country treatment known to man that is three times more prescribed and fifty percent as effective as an all-purpose Ass-Whipping.
I’m glad I got that error corrected. While I am at it, I have some new additions. While we were discussing the facts around childhood injuries I got more depth for this already colorful history.
Fun fact: The pony that saved Papaws brother by providing medical transport also saved Papaw at a different time and in much the same way.
Papaw had a little red pony that he rode everywhere. He grew up in the early seventies and loved watching westerns. What is better for a child who loves westerns than his very own trick pony? Papaw regaled us with his agile adventures that border on parkour. For instance, he told us about trying to leap from a galloping pony into an open bedroom window. This was how Papaw learned about Newtons First and Third Laws of Motion.
Newton’s First Law: Object in motion tends to stay in motion…
Newton’s Third Law: Each action (force) has an equal and opposite reaction.
Papaw’s Second Law: If it doesn’t kill you, you’ll be better in a second.
The girls laughed and laughed at that story. He also added, “You know when they ride a horse through a glass window in the movies? That doesn’t work.” We all laughed at that too.
Then he told us about the pony saving his life. Apparently, he wanted a pet squirrel. One day while running around and not breaking his ribs on jumping through windows he rode his pony to the edge of the woods. A squirrel scampered up a tree. Papaw tied the pony to the tree and commenced to climbing the tree. You might ask, “What will he do if he catches the squirrel?”. I would reply, “Wait for the racoon story.” After about forty feet up the tree a limb broke and sent Papaw flailing to the ground. Luckily his head broke his fall and after a few moments of being unconscious he woke up and crawled to his pony. He managed to drape himself across the back of the pony and tied the rope. The pony walked him to the front door of his house where his mother scooped him up and carried him inside. What really speaks volumes to me is the fact that his mother didn’t question how or what or even if he was going to live. This was such a regular occurrence that she would simply lay these boys in the bed until their bodies healed enough for them to go run headlong into another injury.
The racoon story.
Papaw finally got a wild animal pet. A female racoon with a sunny disposition. He said she was tame “most of the time”. I asked how he tamed her and he said, “I just got in the pen with her and let her bite me until she got tired of being so mean.” I verified that his method for befriending a wild racoon was just sitting still and letting it attack until it was exhausted. He nodded. While I understand the reasoning I cannot match the will power and tolerance for pain. What reference do you have to possess for pain to think a raccoon attack is just something to be tolerated for the one-way affection that you will enjoy on the other side?
Sweet Baby Jesus shine your loving light on this leathery soul.
Most rough and tumble boys would have stories about fist fights in the school parking lot. But I can’t imagine the suicidal playground bully who would hear his stories of self-inflicted pain and think, “Hey I’ll fight that kid.”
He sounds like he lived the perfect action hero backstory. The brave tales of Swifty McTwotoes and his trusty coon sidekick. They rode the high plains fighting crime on the back of a blood red steed.
So if you have more time to sit around and share family legends, this post is for you. Tell all the stories and whatever you do, write them down. And for my daughters who are ready this… this is why women live longer. Nothing in a woman makes her yearn to climb trees after squirrels or leap from moving animals into unmovable structures.
Underdaddy to the rescue.