Memory Monday—it’s a thing.
My grandmother’s house was always full or at least it seemed that way as I was growing up. My cousins were my playmates and first friends. We had a huge yard to play in and when that became boring, we had several other places to explore. There were hayfields, dirt roads, hillsides, and a branch that flowed into the creek—all just waiting for us.
One particular day, my cousins and I decided to go fishing. My cousin, Jason, took the lead since he was the oldest. My cousin, Crystal, was with us and our tag-a-long baby cousin, Brett, insisted on going with the “big kids.” We set off with our bucket of dirt and turned over boards, rocks, logs, and anything else we found that could hide a few worms. With all four of us fishing, we would need a lot of worms.
In the pasture near the barn, we found the a very promising worm hideout. Back before my grandfather had modern farm equipment like a tractor, he used horses. The horses would pull the different implements to flatten, till, or plow the garden. Even though he hadn’t used it in years, he still had an old drag, once used to smooth out his fields. It was probably about five feet long and maybe five or six feet wide and made of some extremely heavy wood. It hadn’t been disturbed in years and we just knew we would find all the worms we could ever need under that drag.
Our plan was simple. Jason, Crystal, and I would lift one end of the drag up while Brett crawled underneath to grab up all the worms. Afterall, he was the youngest and the smallest. The three of us grabbed one end of the drag and managed to lift up that end. Just as planned, Brett scurried underneath and to grab the worms. Being a little kid, he was pretty slow gathering the worms and we were straining to continue holding up the end of the drag. Jason started feeling pretty confident that he could hold the drag up by himself and he started telling us to let go. Crystal let go pretty quickly and I argued a little, but in the end, Jason was older and in charge. I let go.
I could tell Jason wasn’t able to hold the drag by himself. I could see the drag start to fall and I was telling Brett to get out from under it. He happened to be close enough to me for me to grab and pull as the drag fell. As I pulled him out, a nail sticking out of the side of the drag caught the back of Brett’s head and left a gash about an inch long.
Brett screamed and cried. I was sure we had just killed our little cousin. The adults on the porch took notice of us and met us halfway between the house and barn. There was a lot of screaming and crying, my aunt yanked Brett away from me, and before we even made it to the house, Brett was in his mother’s car and on the way to the hospital. Hours later, he came home with a concussion and a few stitches. I don’t remember us older kids being punished, but I think the gut-wrenching worry was more than enough punishment.
Today, September 15, 2014, is Brett’s 34th birthday. Happy Birthday, Bubby Brett…I hope it’s a great one. Don’t crawl under any drags…