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Pam Stone: I'm taking stock after near misses
By Pam Stone
For the Herald-Journal
Published: Sunday, September 22, 2013 at 3:15 a.m.
I guess it's all in the way you look at it.
“You were really lucky,” one friend declared after hearing my account of a recent string of events.
“You must have a guardian angel!” another exclaimed.
“You shoulda been wearing your seat belt,” a third scolded.
Last week, two incidents occurred that could have easily been fatal or, at least, gravely injurious.
On Sunday, while Paul was out running errands, I took it upon myself to climb aboard Chester, our tractor, bush-hog in tow, and tackle the embarrassingly deep growth of weeds, briars and tall grass along the street frontage of the big field. One is obliged to mow on a relatively steep slope here, and that always is a cause for caution. Inching along, leaning heavily to the right, the job was done in minutes, and I drove triumphantly down the driveway just as Paul returned.
He offered to take over the mowing of the field and had made no more than three laps around the 10 acres when, along the fence line, there was an almighty “clunk” and the right wheel of the tractor fell off. Just fell slap off.
Had that happened 20 minutes earlier, this paper would be re-running a prior column, just below my obituary. And had the wheel fallen off an hour later, as Paul was beginning to tackle the undulating slopes of the field, he could have easily suffered the same fate.
(By the way, to answer the third, scolding, friend: 1953 Ford Jubilee tractors didn't come with seat belts. Or cup holders. Or a place to plug in your iPod, city boy. All a 1953 Ford tractor guarantees you in the event of a rollover is a closed-casket funeral.)
So Chester now sits, dejected, in the front field as we await our turn on the waiting list of the tractor mechanic who does house calls.
Monday dawned, bright and clear and cool, and it turned out to be a wonderful morning to ride. Both horses here for training went beautifully. As I secured an 1,800-pound mare in the wash rack, clipping each cross tie to her halter while I picked up the hose, this gal decided she'd rather graze than stand for bathing and, with a jerk of her Kia-sized head, broke free of one cross tie.
Let me paint the picture: Cross ties are nylon straps with a chrome clip at each end. One snaps to the horse's halter and the other snaps with a “breakaway clip” to a steel ring, welded to a metal plate that is screwed into the posts on either side of the horse.
What is supposed to happen is that if a horse panics or simply, as this mare did, flips her head, the “breakaway clip” opens immediately from the steel ring so that horse doesn't feel trapped and pull the entire post out of the ground — killing everyone in her path.
This breakaway clip didn't open.
All I know is I picked up the hose, checked the temperature of the water, heard a loud “pop” and took a slamming blow to my temple. The steel ring and plate, ripped from the post and still connected to the nylon strap, came at me like a slingshot strike at warp speed.
The right lens of my sunglasses was sent flying into the wash rack, and I probably would have given the mare a smack for her rude behavior if the stream of blood hadn't been flowing into my eye. Feeling the rapidly rising lump and subsequent puncture wound from one of the screws, I went to my barn first aid kit, washed and cleaned it and made my way back to the house, trying to remember when I'd had my last tetanus booster.
“What happened to you?” said Paul, startled, stopping mid-reach into the fridge.
“Beaned in the head by a horse,” I sighed, wincing as he examined the area. “It's going to wind up being a shiner.”
“Way to go,” Paul remarked. “Now we can't go to Walmart together.”
Two days, two incidents.
One, I was saved by the mere minutes left on a rusted bolt. The second, my sight was saved owing to my wearing sunglasses. Guardian angel? Dumb luck?
Or something's trying to tell me to move into a condo.
For more funny stories, friend Pam on Facebook.
Reach Pam Stone at PammStone@gmail.com
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