Truck box: Every family farm needs a registered nurse

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Farm Forum

I think there should be a law that if there are six boys in a family, the mom should be a registered nurse. It’s a good thing ours was.

One day when I was three, I was ambling along the south side of our farmyard’s picket fence, when I chanced upon an unopened stick of gum lying on the ground. Now, Mom didn’t give us kids very much gum or candy when we were growing up, so this was a pleasant surprise. I reasoned that, since the gum was still in the wrapper, it was OK, so I unwrapped the stick and put it in my mouth.

My chewing pleasure was doubled with the thought that I had gum and none of my brothers and sisters did, and I continued on my search for whatever adventure might be around the next corner, out to the west side of the house. There I found Roger and Nancy, who were three and four years older than I, jumping out the end of the box of our old truck, then climbing back in and jumping out again. This looked like fun, and I must have figured if they can do it, I can do it. So I grabbed the bottom rung of the stock rack, placed my foot on the axle hub, and crawled up and over the side of the truck box. Imitating Roger and Nancy, I walked to the edge and jumped.

Now, this truck had a clevis-like hitch welded on the end of the box that stuck out about two inches. Sadly, my leap must have only extended horizontally about half that, because I caught my right foot in the hitch. My body swung in a perfect arc directly to the ground. Fortunately, my face broke my fall. Helplessly, I hung there upside down, my foot still jammed in the hitch until Roger pulled it free and set me right side up on the ground. As blood streamed from my nose and some small gravel cuts on my face, Nancy grabbed my hand and started pulling me toward the house and Mom.

But there, lying on the ground, I spied my wad of gum, dislodged from my mouth by the impact of the fall, and even in my injured state, I still wanted that gum. Unfortunately, I couldn’t communicate this to Roger and Nancy, as I was bawling my head off. I tried to lean toward it and reach it with my right hand, but being bigger than I, Nancy won the tug-of-war, and she and Roger marched me to the house. Mom looked down sympathetically at my scratched-up face and bloody nose, which turned out to be broken. She patched me up, and sent me back outside to play. I don’t remember if I went back and got the gum.

Some time later, perhaps several months or a year, I came again upon that old truck out in the back yard. I don’t remember if anybody was jumping out of the box that day, but I do remember thinking to myself that I’m bigger now; I can make that jump. So I crawled back in, walked to edge and, telling myself not to catch my foot in the hitch this time, leaped as hard as I could.

It was like deja vu. Once again I caught my foot in the hitch; once again I smacked the ground with my face. And once again, I ended up with a bloody, broken nose.

Maybe Mom should have been a doctor.