Some People I've Met
|James Carpenter has a ranch just outside Ralston Oklahoma His
handshake is real firm and his cheerful smile reaches deep down inside his eyes. He
told me about some Okies working their way up a half mile driveway in Baghdad Arizona
during the depression to look for work. When they had their sixth flat and still
weren't half way, the rancher came down and asked if they were having trouble.
"No, replied the Okie. "All I'm doing is research, trying to determine just how much misery one man can stand."
The rancher must have liked that brand of humor says Carpenter; he moved to Oklahoma.
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Inside Ralston city limits I went to see Roger Kennedy. Roger was in a motorcycle accident last year and the bone in his leg got infected. Doctors convinced him to let them remove 3 inches of the bone.
Now his leg is in a wire hoop fender, with wires running into the flesh from the knee to the ankle. Doctors are growing him a new bone. Hurt? I was aching from head to toe just looking at that contraption he was wearing. But Roger was grinning, and even working some around the house. "Sure it hurts, but it is hurting less all the time. By the year 2001 they say it might not hurt no more at all."
I can hardly wait.
|It just so happens I met both sides of this story independently. I
was talking with an employer who related that a new employee was acting irresponsibly in
spite of direct orders, and had got a leg chewed off in an auger. "I told him 3
times to get out of there, and he just kept jumping down into the pit with the auger with
it running. And I wasn't the first one to tell him either. I turned around and
yelled at the foreman to get that fool out of there, and he got in one last time.
His leg was chewed off before we could shut the auger off."
Years later I realized I had met the man who met the auger of that employer. "I kept telling them the 2 year old mildewed cotton they were grinding for cattle feed was plugging up the auger, but they wouldn't scrape it back and every time some more of it slid down I got knocked into the pit."
There's two sides to every story. I'm just glad I was not the judge.
Buffalo Bill II
Ken and Myrna went up to the stables to change horses for their tourist stage coach. The new team was young mares anxious to be on their way. Myrna was holding them even though one bit her and the other lifted her off the ground by rearing.
Ken's brother Robert was helping but the phone rang and he seemed to know it was his "girlfriend" from Mexico. He ran to answer it.
The team was all harnessed, Ken got on the coach and told Myrna to let them go. Myrna did! Just as she did, the one horse lunged forward bringing a buckle through the hame (ring in the middle where the lines cross) This made it so Ken couldn't control the one horse.
The only thing he could do was steer the left horse. They went in a circle with the circle getting tighter. The large wooden wheel caught under the coach and tipped it on its side. The horse pulled it on around and stopped when the coach finally caught on the office building.
Ken was thrown into the air between 15 and 20 feet and landed on one foot and leg.
The doctor who treated him is one of the best in the country. He had just returned from lecturing, etc. in Sweden. He said it was one of the worst breaks he had ever seen and if it had happened a year and a half ago, Ken would probably have lost his leg entirely.
Ken was in surgery 4 & 1/2 hours. They put in a large plate that runs 2/3 the length of his leg and bolted it down with 6 large screws which will never come out. They took "calcium cement" that is made out of unborn calf bone and artistically rebuilt the top of the bone.
Ken has really suffered with tremendous pain but seems to be doing great now. He was in intensive care 3 days and the hospital 13. The good news is, Myrna married him anyway, in the town where he was born.
Farming and ranching, you never know when. You usually don't even know why. That's the reason Buffalo Bill and Pawnee Bill had so many patrons; the audience knew, even when you're playacting, disaster can strike at any time.
The good news is that now Ken is a real
Grady County is John Deere Country. I think 90% of the working tractors I saw were green. One 4020 was going across rough ground when I stopped at the turnrow to ask directions. When asked how things were going the cowboy on the tractor responded: "I've rode worse horses -- but they had sense enough to quit when I'd beat them."