Had a great day - went out for a ride to look at the river....
This story/memory has a whole new meaning for me today.
Just being outside made me and my two brothers giddy! The fresh warm spring air wafting over us, entering our lungs made us act like drunken sailors as we ran and ran, falling over ourselves with glee!
This was our first escape from being cooped up in the house all winter long! Now we could finally enjoy the wide-open prairie!
After we’d run ourselves to exhaustion, we just flopped ourselves onto our backs and lay there on the surprisingly warm dusty earth in the middle of the yard. It was pure joy just resting, chests heaving as we caught our breath.
As I was looking up into the beauty of the bright blue prairie sky, I could hear the staccato sound of our tractor in the distance.
Another sign of spring, Dad was back on the field. Evidence that the season of spring had really come and that the warm lazy days of summer were just around the corner!
In the midst of my dreaming, I noticed a change. “That tractor is getting louder!” I said, lifted my head wondering if I could see our green tractor, and sure enough I could just see the top of the machine from my grasshopper perspective coming onto the yard.
“Hey, let’s go see what Dad’s doing!” I suggested.
“Yea, let’s go!” my brother Walt responded jumping to his feet!
Leo my youngest brother joined Walt and me as we trotted towards the tractor now entering our yard.
As my father drove towards us, we stopped, waving and cheering. Dad slowed down to roll proudly past us waved and smiled broadly as if he were on parade.
Since Dad was going quite slowly, we noticed that the metal packer wheels bristling with metal extensions on the seeder, looked very much like car tires.
We always enjoyed playing with rubber tires…. rolling them around the yard seeing how fast we could go with them… racing them.
So, Walt and I started pushing these metal wheels hand over hand as if they were rubber tires!
Leo was pretty small and just ran along behind us.
“Come-on, let’s make them go faster” we yelled to each other pushing harder on the wheels – pretending we could make a difference.
Suddenly, something happened, Walt’s pants got hooked onto one of the wheels lugs, his leg started lifting up and down as the wheel rolled along.
Noticing this, I thought he could easily free himself, but he couldn’t. His pant leg was getting tighter and tighter, I tried to get a grip on him, scrabbling for anything… fumbling….
Next thing I knew, he had lost his footing and was on his back being dragged and then being lifted up onto the turning wheel!
I had a most crazy thought, “Walt’s going to die? – And I’m the older brother who had suggested this…stupid game!”
Now he was screaming at the top of his lungs!
I was screaming!
Then everything stopped!
Walt had landed on the other side of the packer wheels, his whole body except for his head had gone through the gap between the bar and the wheels! Now only his head was showing above the bar! One second longer and he would have been decapitated.
Dad appeared – shocked – surprised at finding us screaming for our lives. Apparently with the tractor engine going, he hadn’t heard us screaming at all.
He had actually just stopped at the pump to fill the tractor with gas.
Shakily, he untangled Walt. We were all trembling.
Mom hearing all the yelling and screaming came out of the house running!
That evening supper was very different, very quiet.
Dad explained that he was crossing the yard to begin seeding on another field and only at the last minute decided he should take some gas now to save a trip back later.
An unplanned stop that had saved my brother’s life in the nick of time.
What if? What if? None of us dared to go there....
I realized a few things that day.
First, that it was important that you only roll rubber tires.
Secondly, that I did really love my brothers…(and one sister) ....a lot!
Thirdly, that as King Solomon observed, "there is a time to live and a time to die.... "*
you can only connect them looking backwards.
- Steve Jobs