Sagging Branches

While driving back, I decided to take a small detour and drive down a blacktop I’ve not been on for about five years.  The main reason I went, was to see an old farmstead one of my relatives lived on for too many years.  It appeared after the death of the remaining parent, nearly all signs of there ever being a home and buildings on that place were gone, with the exception of a machine shed that for some reason, still remains standing.

I was a little creeped out when seeing it still standing as likely some sort of silent sentinel of the past, but clearly remembering one of their young children was accidentally electrocuted while climbing around int that very building. Such sad thoughts came rolling into my memory while looking at it from afar.  To this day, even though I was likely only six or seven years old, I vividly remember being with my parents while in attendance of that child’s funeral.  For a youngster, it was a shocking event for me as I watched and listened to all those many people who were in attendance and crying their eyes out.

Some day, if I should cross paths with one of the children of those now buried relatives of mine, I’ll be sure to ask why they left that building standing, because if it were me, that would have been the first to get scraped off.   I suspect there were some who believed it should remain standing as a grim reminder of what happened, and continue on with their mindsets of guilt and blame.  I vaguely remember a set of my grandparents quietly speaking about that child’s death, along with their own naming and blaming of those who should have, or could have kept it from happening.

Most in the general public have no idea how dangerous it was to be living on those old “working” farms where there were plethoras of animals big and small.  You could easily have a foot broken by a cow’s step, you could get your fingers caught is a piece of machinery and get them either mangled or snapped off, or falling out of un-latched upper barn door from great heights, and even getting bitten or horned by one of the larger animals.  And lastly, an accidental fire capable of killing man and beast, along with either the dwelling or building housing them.

Yes, it’s surprising how farm children eventually learned to be more alert to the dangers lurking in barnyards.  Unfortunately, those lessons were usually learned the hard way after seeing nasty accidents happen to others.  For me, the absolute worst one I witnessed was when in a split second, seeing a man’s upper leg getting flayed open by a defective Skil saw that didn’t release it’s guard when it should have.  That was my granddaddy of an accident which afterwards triggered a few hellacious nightmares.

Thank goodness the overly-wet snow has stopped.  I always worry about the branches on our trees when seeing so much having accumulated over a short periods of time.  While driving home, I noticed a good number of their sagging branches.  It looks like we’re to get more if it tomorrow, so do stay safe and closer to home.

Joe Chodur

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