It was my turn to slop the two hogs Dave and I fed –I was eight or nine years old, my brother was two and a half years older — and I had waited too long. There was still some light outside, but the barn was pitch black.
Without a flashlight I wouldn’t have been able to see anything.
The hogs were in a shed-like enclosure attached to the barn. There were several windows — openings, I guess, is more like it — in the barn wall next to the shed.
All I thought I had to do was lean out one of the openings and pour the slop in the trough below. But I couldn’t. The hogs had rooted the trough over to the other side of the pen. I was going to have to get in there with them.
I was late feeding them and the hogs, who could smell the slop, were going nuts. I was afraid of them, but what choice did I have? I couldn’t pour the slop on the ground.
I decided to sprinkle a little of it in their faces, drive them crazy, which would hold them at the first window. I’d leave my light there too, trained on the trough, while I slipped quietly down to the third window, jumped into the pen and ran to the trough with my bucket. I’d pour the slop and be gone before the hogs knew I was in there with them.
That was my plan.
When I jumped I landed on a plow I had forgotten about –and couldn’t see– gashing my head above my left eye and knocking a small piece of bone out of my skull. I had slop and blood all over me and, moments later, hogs.
Postscript: That was one of the few times I was taken to a doctor to get sewed up. We didn’t go to the doctor much, most cuts were just bandaged. I slept in same bed with my two older brothers, Pop and Dave, and, that night, one of them accidentally hit me in the head and knocked the stitches out. A doctor closed the wound again, this time with metal clamps.
There’s still a small crevice in my skull above my left eye.
Coming Monday: Everything Is Relative