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Friday, May 6, 2016

Walking With Jackie the Ripper

Friday, January 2, 2004

When I was small it was a common practice to be a bit superstitious, especially the women folks, which is what females were called by the male population. I may have mentioned it before. She would say, "You know, it's just enough to make a person wonder."

I don't know if inanimate objects can be cursed with bad luck or not, but we had a tree in the back yard that seemed to fit right into this category. Through the years it seemed to truly be a harbinger of unhappiness. Our pet goat, Billy Waddles, accidentally hanged himself on one of its lower limbs, though Daddy protested loudly and at great length that the fault lay not with the tree but rather with the blathering idiot who tied the animal there in the first place.

I'm sure he was right, but the incident came back to haunt me one summer day when I almost fell off the same branch which was instrumental in the demise of Billy.

Why in the world I was up in the tree I cannot tell you, but I was, along with a couple of my brothers, one of whom felt consumed by the need to push me out of his way. He succeeded quite well. On my way down I caught onto the limb of which I write and screamed for help at the top of my lungs.

Rescue came in the form of Daddy, who just happened to be at home that day recuperating from a knife wound to his foot, brought about when he accidentally stabbed himself in the process of butchering a beef to sell in his store, The Famous Market.

In those simple days of long ago, before the government felt burdened by the need to supervise everything people do from from the cradle to the grave, merchants could do that.

Hill country treatment for most non-lethal cuts was to soak the afflicted area in hot water and kerosene, but that remedy didn't even start to control the sliced artery. I still remember how the blood brightly spouted forth at each heart beat. Such excitement! Mama was keening in the background, supported by neighbors who tried to assure her that Daddy possibly might make it. The crowd eventually determined that stitches would be required so he was taken to the doctor's office.

As I mentioned, Daddy was still recovering from the knife wound when I started my fall from the tree and shrieked for help. Ignoring his foot problem, he ran to my rescue, breaking loose the stitches which Dr. Barnes had placed there a few days before. The healing process must have been pretty far along because I don't recall Daddy going back for more medical attention.

I felt bad about the whole situation and quickly came to realize that I should have taken my chances on falling out of the tree and breaking something rather than hurt Daddy's foot again. Mama said, "......."