Three Brushes with Death
guess anyone can say they've had a close brush with death and mean it.
I think I've had three but I really don't know for sure.
I don't think anyone knows for sure.
I know there were other times when I thought it was close and it ended in
I guess anyone can say they've had a close brush with death and mean it. I think I've had three but I really don't know for sure. I don't think anyone knows for sure. I know there were other times when I thought it was close and it ended in a smile.
One of those childish times was when I made a braided whip out of a single strand #9 copper wire covered with black plastic. The wire inside the plastic was about as big as a pencil lead. I was only about ten or eleven so there was no danger. When it was too cumbersome to use as a whip I tried it out on a telephone pole. The bare end of that wire snapped back and opened a place on my wrist that made the blood just gush out. I went running into the house for I'd learned only a short time before that if you get cut on your wrist, your a goner. This was it. End of the line. Well my mother took one look at it, ran it under the water and put a tight band-Aid on it and soon I was back playing with the whip again. I just didn't whip any more telephone poles.
of the first times I courted disaster I was in high school and working at the
Shell station in my hometown of
and I had just finished a grease job and oil change on a crummy.
A crummy is what the loggers use to go to the woods.
This crummy was a pickup with two bench seats and four doors.
It was almost closing time when Hal told me to get in and start the truck
and we'd check our work for oil leaks around the filter.
I got in the truck, started it, and waited.
As I was waiting I saw a pistol hanging from a holster over the front
seat next to me. I'd been around all
kinds of guns all my life so I took the pistol out of the holster and was
looking at it. All of a sudden it
exploded. Actually all it did was go
off but at the time it seemed much worse. Thanks
goodness the door to the truck was open, for I expect that saved my hearing.
The bullet missed my leg by about four inches.
It went into the seat and came back out, through the floor board, through
the top of the transmission and into the transmission.
had a terrible headache when he hit his head on the hood.
He and I were thankful I was relatively OK.
We found out that the fellow that owned the crummy was a little strange.
The .357 pistol had been filed to a "hair trigger" so he could
shoot rabbits along the logging roads as he drove along.
paid to have the transmission pulled out and inspected.
It was fine and I got the slug back as a souvenir.
Hal was very nice about the whole matter and I got to keep working at the
station. When I go to
second brush with death occurred after working all night at the plywood plant.
I worked there when I came home from college during Christmas break,
spring break, and after summer school before fall.
Because the boss knew I could use the money for school he'd let me work a
double shift it he was short handed. The
jobs were tough but I enjoyed being around men that worked with their
hands…especially after a few months at school.
don't remember whether I had worked a double shift of 16 hours this particular
night but it is entirely possible. One
of the other fellows couldn't get his car started because it had a dead battery.
The car had an automatic transmission so they decided to push it with
another car up to about 30 or 35 miles per hour to get it started.
As I look back upon this I still don't know why someone didn't get a pair
of jumper cables. Nevertheless, they
decided to push the dead car with the live one.
The bumpers didn't match so they asked me if I would climb on the trunk
of the dead car and stand on the bumper. I
don't remember if anyone else did it as well.
I do remember going down this little used piece of pavement clinging to
this car's trunk and trying to keep the bumpers level.
Well finally the dead car's motor caught and that car pulled away from
the other one. Unfortunately it also
pulled away from me. Try as I might
I couldn't help from tumbling onto the edge of the road where I tumbled, and
tumbled and tumbled, until I came to a stop in a heap.
I have no idea how the live car behind stopped from running over me.
I do know that I stood up, brushed myself off and walked over to my own
car to go home. I remember being
very sore for a couple of days but I don't remember how badly I was scratched or
scrapped. I think one of the reason
I didn't get hurt worse was that I was so tired from working that I was like a
drunk. Of course if I hadn't have
been so tired when the guys asked me to do this I probably would have said,
"No Thanks!" and gone home to bed.
years later I was living in
day I got a call from Pat asking me if I wanted to earn some money.
Someone had their fancy speedboat up on
was recovering from a hernia operation but would work topside while another
fellow and I did the diving. We got
all our gear up to the pontoon boat and set out for where the owner and his wife
said the boat went down.
only two divers, the search pattern would be to have one diver remain on an
anchor point while the other diver, connected by a twenty foot rope to the
anchor point, swam in a big circle all the way around the point.
If the swimming diver ran into the boat, or anything else of value he'd
give two tugs on the rope and then tie the rope to the boat.
After completing a circle and finding nothing, the diver at the anchor
point would give two tugs and we would go up to the surface and move the
operation to nearby location.
don't remember how many sweeps we made but on the last one I was out on the end
of the rope. The bottom had turned
into several feet of soupy mud. You
couldn't swim or walk through it, but when you tried to stay above it you would
slowly sink. You couldn't see it
because of the darkness but you could feel a constant weight pulling on your
arms and legs when you tried to swim. As
I swam and crawled through this muck I stopped keeping the rope tight with my
partner at the anchor point. I was
less than 20 feet from him but didn't realize it.
After what seemed like hours but was only minutes I began to panic.
I hadn't received a tug on the rope and I was sure it should have
happened. I lost direction and
develop a complete case of vertigo. I
didn't know which way was up. When
this happens in water where you can see, your bubbles will show you the
direction of up by rising. But here
in the darkness you had nothing to aid you.
Finally in desperation I dropped the rope and pulled the handle on my
inflatable vest. I shot to the
surface like I'd been fired from a cannon. In
a matter of seconds I broke the surface like Namu the killer whale at SeaWorld.
As I popped to the surface Pat reached out and pulled me onto the pontoon
boat. Unfortunately, the violent
manner in which he grabbed me caused him to re-injure his hernia.
other diver came right up behind me worried that I wasn't on the end of his rope
any more. They were concerned that I
might have developed a case of air embolism which occurs when you rise too
quickly without letting air out. I
told them I was fine but they insisted on me staying flat on my back.
Pat called an ambulance that took all of us to the airport at Falcon
field and we all went for a plane ride in a pressurized airplane to
dove many more times over the eight years I was part of the Posse.
Once we swam into an airplane in 85 feet of water and removed the pilot.
Several times we swam on the bottom of the
there are other times I've had a close brush with death and didn't know it.
It's probably just as well.