Hang On Tight

June 9th, 2009

My Uncle Buck had three sons. The older two were twins, Charles and Hubert. The youngest was Jerry. Jerry, sadly enough, would die in a car crash some years later.

All three of these boys were outright farm kids. Honest, hardworking, and independent but still kids at heart — which brings us to a classic moment in my life when I learned a lesson or two.

Saturday was go-to-town day. Nobody went twice a day like now. For some reason Buck decided to leave his boys and me at home and take Aunt Nell instead. He gave us some work to do and told us he’d be back around noon. He also told us we’d better stay out of trouble. Not an unreasonable request if you valued the skin on your behind.

Turns out that Jerry had wanted to go with his folks and my being there had prevented that from happening, or so he thought. He decided to “fix” me by getting me in some trouble. He and the other boys led me and my brother down to the barn lot. Jerry said, “I dare you to try and ride that little bull that’s staked out next to the barn.”

Before I could make up my mind, my kid brother jumped on that little bull and off they went. Lowell held on for dear life, and the little bull went crazy. When Lowell finally got loose he told Jerry it was his turn. Somehow the tables had turned on Jerry. Not at all like he’d planed it.

Thus we enter the world of Murphy’s Law and other little wrinkles that develop into adulthood. Hubert was all for Jerry “bellying up”. Charles was more sensible and warned of what might happen. Jerry, on the other hand, had “cast the die”. He ain’t got a choice.

Old Jerry ran and jumped on the yearling’s back and let out a big holler. The bull’s eyes got big as saucers. You have never seen anything quite like that. Alas, the ride was short and violent. The bull ran toward the center of the lot and then did a 180 degree turn and headed the other way. Uncle Buck had driven a Ford model “A” rear axle into the ground and was using it to anchor down the tether line on the bull. The bull in his haste to be somewhere else managed to jerk the axle out of the ground and turn it into an airborne missile of sorts. Wanna guess where it landed? Yep, right on old Jerry’s head. Knocked him out cold. Bled pretty good, too.

Why oh why didn’t we listen to Uncle Buck’s warning? Old Murphy kicked our butts that day and so did Uncle Buck. No formalities at his house. There was enough “whoop-ass” to go around.

We were lucky in that my aunt and uncle arrived home about the same time the axle on the head incident occurred. Old Jerry got a trip to town after all. The rest of us stood and took it like a man. Oh, dat hurt!!!

(This article was also posted at Old Duggy.)

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2 Responses to “Hang On Tight”

  1. Harvey |


    Thanks for another well told tale. Doesn’t sound like your Uncle Buck had much of a sense of humor when it came to kids — his attitude about those things sounds remarkably like my own mother’s; her favorite “weapon” was the back side of a hair brush.

  2. Tom |

    Nice story, Larry, particularly about how Murphy’s Law operates even among kids. There’s also a lesson in how direct and memorable discipline helps boys become men.

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