Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



All of My Friends

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Blink

In happier times...

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 Gramma was babysitting.
But 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.
Dad made the trip to the hospital in record time.
And that is something when you are traveling 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.

7 comments:

  1. Losing part of a finger was bad enough, but to think it could have been even worse ... I shudder at the thought. Things truly can happen in a blink of an eye.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I remember one time when Blair followed me out to the shop. I was cutting and welding and throwing sparks everywhere. Blair watched, keeping his distance. Finally he had to ask, and quite innocently: "George, why is that pail on fire?" It was a pail with some gasoline in the bottom that was used for washing parts. Thankfully it was a steel pail and there was little damage done. Just hooked a spade under the handle and carried the flaming bucket outside. Like I said, no harm done, except maybe the plastic handle got a little scorched. The pail eventually made its way over to the feedlot and was used to dispense feed to the bulls after that...

    ReplyDelete
  3. Ouch. And they are sooooooo fast.
    Glad it wasn't a worse experience for everyone.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I've got two going at the same time! I feel like my eyes are going crossed. I can remember my dad having that same air compressor!

    ReplyDelete
  5. A sad story for all. I grew up in the 40's and I don't know how we survived as there was very little supervision.

    ReplyDelete
  6. My youngest son liked to put things into things. One day Hubs came home and before I could blink he was sticking a rock into Hubs' hot car tailpipe. That's one I'll never forget.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Blair got very lucky, that thing could have drawn his whole arm in. Any machinery is scary when children are around. Any children, not just small ones.

    ReplyDelete

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