May 21st…………“DID YOU EVER EXPERIENCE A SERIOUS INFECTION OR POISONING WHILE A LITTLE BOY ON YOUR FARM IN MINNESOTA? WHAT DID YOUR PARENTS DO TO HELP CURE IT”??
This fatuous, frenetic, flying farm fellow leapt from the high, corn elevator window of the old, wooden corncrib. I was thoroughly enjoying some playtime over to the Charlie Heitzeg farm and was having great adventures with his grandson. Dirk and I were way up inside one of the old fashioned wooden corn cribs located back in the treed windbreak of their handsome farm. Being full of spunk, energy and wanderlust extraordinaire …….we two midget adventurers were pretending that the corn crib was our “Fort Courageous” and we were fending off the attacks of a myriad of savages by shooting our imaginary Winchester rifles through the open spaces of the slatted walls.
Me being the “Davey Crockett”, save the day-type of wild man, in my imagination, I was going to leap to the ground from our “fort” and ride my imaginary horse for cavalry reinforcements. While in my “flight” towards the ground, I saw a 2″x 4″ board with the long point of a big old nail reaching skyward at me. With no “wings” to change the course of the gripping gravity that was pulling my body downwards, my right foot made a sharp-sounding “KER-SLAP” right on top of that nail-pierced board. Even though I was wearing my good ol’ “Keds” ankle-high sneakers, the rubber sole was no match for the piercing power of that nail that shot right through the sole and up into the flesh of my foot.
With the noise of my landing, it was as if all the crows in the big woods that day were laughing hysterically at my predicament as they cawed and cawed in the branches above me. By this time, my co-Indian fighter, Dirk, had arrived at the scene of the “arrow” in my foot. As I lifted my skewered right appendage, with the nail embedded in my shoe and foot, the entire 2×4 came up into the air with my injured foot. Dirk freaked, “HOLY COW!, Elliott, look at that”!!!! “You’d better get home to your farm and have your Mom take care of that”!!! Holding the 2×4 to the ground with my good left foot, I yanked my perforated tootsie off of the nail board beneath me. In pain, there I went, hobbling over to my bicycle while I did my best to do a one-footed pedaling back to our farm nearby.
Although I don’t recall it, I’m sure we made a trip to Dr. Hanson’s office for a tetanus shot……just in case, ya? Sweet Mom, our Norwegian “queen of the scene”, was the loving first-aid anchor of our farm family. If it wasn’t Dad getting hurt, then it was one of us youngsters coming to her with anything from dog bites, cat scratches or this here little boy who got “nailed”, literally!!! 😉
Our beloved family friend, “Grandpa” Harry Bauman was about to bless us again by providing his still relatively new Chevy Impala to transport he and we to Denver, Colorado in the summer of 1963. We were so excited to go see our father’s brothers, sister and families. We all concurred that my punctured podiatry was not about to get in the way of enjoying so much fun on that trip to see our extended family and the majestic Rocky Mountains. Only hitch to this trip was…….Mom noticed that, even though she had doctored my foot at the time of the nail incident, she saw evidence of blood poisoning setting in. At least one vein from my foot showed a dark and lengthening trail of infection crawling upwards. That situation had to be arrested and reversed.
As I’m sure you all know, moms are medical marvels wrapped in folds of mystical mending magic tricks. In this case, our mother, Clarice, decided to use an old-fashioned remedy called a poultice to hopefully draw out the poison that was slowing tracking up my veins. Only the good Lord, Himself, knows the ingredients that mother concocted within that poultice, but, whatever they were, they were smelly, slimy and slathered upon a gauze-like bandage that she wrapped tightly around my infected foot with a tightly tied dish towel.
I looked like a silly, shoeless “Sherman” as we loaded up Harry’s Chevy, with Harry at the wheel, and we launched off to the southwest and Colorado. The positive, puckering power of the poultice seemed to be drawing the poison out of my foot’s wound with each reapplication that Mom made. I guess I should have been nicknamed, “Hoppy”, as I hopped around at each stop along the way. It was a small price to pay, though, to be able to drink in the amazing day when we all saw the mighty Rocky Mountains for the very first time!!!
Even with me being a temporary “Peter Poultice”, we had so many happy adventures in Colorado!! I got to visit the insides of my Uncle Doren’s tavern that he owned. We also visited with so many cousins that I seldom had the joy of seeing very often from way back yonder on our farm in Minnesota. I even had the pleasantly bewildering exposure to a lady from Oklahoma who had a rich, southern drawl to her speech. At first I could not understand a word she was saying, so I went over to my mother and asked what country that lady was from?? All the adults laughed as Mom told me, “She’s from America”!! To which I replied, “Well, I can’t understand a single word she’s saying”!!! The dear southern belle laughed right along with everyone else in the room……….such a kind spirit she had to not be offended by my little boy ignorance of the various dialects and verbal accents within this great nation of ours.
I was a flatlander from Minnesota, so, even with my puffy poultice in place, I was beyond thrilled as our uncles took us on a drive up, up, up to Lookout Mountain to see the grave of the famous frontiersman, Buffalo Bill!!! I was in awe, even at that young age, to be at this hallowed place of such an amazing person from our nation’s history.
Within that week or two of visiting family and taking in the sights of Colorado, Mom had the happy news to share that the good Lord had taken mercy upon my punctured appendage and that the blood poisoning was abating to the point of being able to once again wear shoes on the right foot of this little Norwegian Farmer’s Son!!! 😉