March 18th…“WAS FARM WORK DANGEROUS? SHARE THE REASONS WHY.”
Our hard working farmer father was like a soldier facing the dangers of the unknown as he’d enter the world of agriculture every morning. Only the good Lord would know what kind of predicament or battle Dad would have to face with either recalcitrant animals, or in this case, a piece of farm equipment and a tool.
One of the many machinery implements Dad used on the farm was called a Disc. This device could be used to help smooth a seed bed for planting in the Spring, or help cut down the stalks of corn stubble in the Fall. The sharp, circular steel wheel blades of this device, being pulled by the tractor, would cut and send the soil to one side and then slice that same soil back again to break it up thoroughly. It was during one of those corn stubble operations when Dad looked back, from the seat of his tractor, and saw that one of the disc blades had broken and needed to be replaced.
After bringing the Farmall Super M to a stop, Dad shut off the engine and climbed down from the tractor to inspect the damage a rock had caused to the disc blade. With consternation for the interruption to his field work, our father pulled a Crescent Wrench (and other tools) from the toolbox attached to the tractor. By spinning the gear wheel on the Crescent Wrench, Dad was able to close down the metal jaws to just a slit opening and then slipped those jaws of the wrench over the disc blade. His intention was to use pressure exerted against the spring steel of the blade and then loosen it to come off the disc shaft and reattach another disc blade in its place. Instead, Dad’s sweaty hands, being now under full muscle power, slipped off the handle of that wrench that was now under recoil pressure of the tension disc blade. In a split second, that wrench (under pressure from the disc blade) catapulted into Dad’s face. The jaw of the wrench hooked into and ripped open our father’s nostril, tearing open that fleshy protuberance clear up and exposing Dad’s sinus cavity. Now in stunning pain, and with blood everywhere, our father miraculously made the trek from the field and back up to our farm house. Mother quickly called our neighboring farm and Mr. Chet Ozmun to please come to their aid and assist in administering some initial medical attention.
Mr. Ozmun quickly realized that our daddy’s injuries were far beyond his capability to help, so Chet then gave a fast phone call to Frost, Minnesota and the office of Dr. Lewis Hanson. This country doctor was, in my opinion, one of the last of his breed. He was a true country doctor in the fact that he deeply cared for the farmers and their families in our area. Unlike today’s modern medical specialists, Doc Hanson came TO you…and fast…..right to your farm. Even though it was about 20 miles from our farm to Dr. Hanson’s office, it seemed like Chet Ozmun had just placed the phone back on its cradle when Doc’s old Buick roared into our gravel driveway and slid to a halt in the yard just outside of our kitchen window.
Daddy was painfully waiting at our kitchen table when Doc Hanson blew into the house with his black doctor’s bag in tow. Little sister, Candi, and I were in the kitchen that day and observing this tense and bloody moment. In our innocence, one of us mentioned that our father’s face resembled “cherry pie”……….with that remark, we were then ushered “outside to play” and not to bother the adults involved in the serious situation at hand.
Later, I was told that Doc Hanson had dropped (and lost) his half-moon suturing needle on the floor of our kitchen and it seemed to have disappeared. He had to settle for one of Mom’s straight quilting needles, instead, in order to sew up the gash to our father’s nose and sinus. I can only surmise the EXTRA pain that our father had to endure with this more intrusive form of repair to his already hurting face. I could bet that our daddy’s fingernail marks were still in that kitchen chair cushion for years to come because I don’t recall anything mentioned about the doctor using any type of anesthetic.
Our thanks to Doc Hanson, Mom and dear Chet Ozmun for coming to our father’s aid that day. Blessings to your memory, Dad, for your hard work and the dangers that you faced for this Norwegian Farmer’s Son.