Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Saturday, July 13, 2013

Don't Even Blink


Blair. And a friend . . .
My Dad was in the blacksmith shop.
And wherever Dad went, we kids trailed after.
Because.
Why is it that everything Dad does is interesting?
For the first couple of minutes.
After that, one's short attention span rather gets in the way.
But I'm getting ahead of myself . . .
Two-year-old Blair had followed Dad to the shop.Mom was in hospital with newborn sister, Anita, and Dad was babysitting.
But that was okay because Dad did such interesting things . . .
For a short time, Blair had been fascinated with simply watching as Dad puttered.
Then, other interesting sights caught his attention.
Tools.
Horseshoes.
Old paint cans filled with stuff.
He began to explore.
Dad kept an eye on him as he toddled about.
Then, Dad turned on the air compressor.
Its roar filled the old, log-built room and drew every kid in the vicinity.
Blair.
He watched, fascinated as the wheel spun.
"Now you stay back, son," Dad told him firmly.
And he did.
For a very, very long time.
He was two.
Thirty seconds is a very, very long time when you're two.
Dad turned his back for a moment.
Blair saw his chance. He moved forward and reached out to touch the spinning wheel.
For a moment, he couldn't figure out what had happened.
Then the pain started.
He screamed.
Dad spun around to see Blair shaking his hand and spraying blood everywhere.
He grabbed him, pulled out his every-ready handkerchief to wrap around the wounded hand and headed for the house.
With his little boy screaming the whole way.
Dad made the trip to the hospital in record time.
And that is something when you are travelling on uncertain dirt roads.
Soon, Blair was home again, with a neat glove bandage around his pointer finger.
Which now was missing part of the first joint.
Dad figures that the spinning belt caught it and nipped it off against the flywheel.
A terrible wound.
Leaving a scar.
And a story to impress girls with twenty years later.
Ahem . . .
But a fixable wound.
And a solemn reminder that turning your back for a second is all it takes.
Ranches can be dangerous.

8 comments:

  1. A busy man should never have to babysit at the same time....not a place for multi tasking.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'll always think of Blair, when he was 6 or 7. I was in the shop and welding a hitch. Blair asked me quite calmly, 'George, why is that pail on fire?' It was a 5 gallon bucket with some gas in the bottom. A spark went in and set it off. Apparently Blair didn't think there was anything dangerous at all. He even helped me slide a steel rod through the bail so we could take it outside.

    ReplyDelete
  3. But Delores, busy women ALWAYS have to babysit at the same time!! If babysit is the right word :)

    Actually I think neither should have to multi-task where child safety is involved, for what it's worth.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh I can only imagine how your dad felt after that. Scary! What a real life nightmare for a father. How blessed your brother was that it wasn't worse.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep. Tragedy pretty much turned into glory a few years later . . .

      Delete

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