Saturday, August 22, 2009

Flashback Friday #52 (part 2)

Hello folks, Welcome to the big Saturday edition of the one year anniversary of Flashback Friday. We continue today with the stories my Dad told me. In the Friday post, I briefly mentioned my Grandfather's farming accident. Here's what Dad told me happened.

Grandpa, Dad and a couple neighbors were running corn through what Dad called "a corn shredder". This machine was in Grandpa's barn. There was also a neighbor lady in the barn milking Grandpa's cow (whether this milk was for her, or she was working for Grandpa, Dad didn't say). Things were going smoothly until disaster struck.

Dad said this "corn shredder" had rollers that rotated (perhaps for husking?) and a piece of corn stalk got caught in these rollers, jamming them and causing the belts to smoke. Grandpa reached into pull the stalk out. When he tugged on the stalk, the rollers unjammed, and caught his right glove, pulling his hand into the rollers. This really jammed the machine, and the belts not only smoked, the motor caught fire.

Anyone who has ever farmed knows the danger of a barn fire. The neighbor lady who was milking the cow grabbed both buckets of milk and ran to the machine and doused the flames with the milk. (Dad says she wasn't but about five feet tall and about as big around as a car steering wheel). Dad and the two neighbors dragged the still smoking machine outside, lest it flame up again. Whether Grandpa was still stuck in the machine is unknown to me.

The outpouring of help from the community was overwhelming. All the neighboring farmers pitched in and got the rest of Grandpa's crops in. I remember seeing an old yellowed newspaper clipping in one of Grandma's scrapbooks about it. The article also had a large picture of the 20 plus farmers who chipped in to help. The farmer's wives brought food over every evening to feed the workers. My teen age Dad was also in that picture.

When the damage to Grandpa's right hand was assessed, it was determined that he would lose all the fingers, leaving only the thumb. This injury facilitated the need to leave farming as an occupation. With only one hand, and a son nearing the marrying age, Grandpa decided that it was as good as time as any to sell the farm. The money from the farm purchased a house in Westerville, which put him closer to his job at the grave vault factory. Dad said that Grandpa still worked his factory job, even though he had only the use of a thumb on his right hand. Grandpa even purchased a garbage packer truck and started a trash hauling business that he worked until his death.

Tomorrow wraps up the Flashback Friday Anniversary Edition. Hope you drop by again for another walk down memory lane.

1 comment:

Lavender Chick said...

What a story. I was just reading your lovely wife's blog and thinking about work ethic. What a work ethic your grandfather and neighboring farmers had. It reminded me of a story about my farming grandfather. He once got his hand stuck in a hay baler. Like your grandfather, he never had use of that arm again. But - to make matters worse, when he was finally out of the hospital and functiong once again with one arm, he used his good arm to demonstrate to his brother-in-law how he managed to get his bad arm stuck in the hay baler. Lo and behold, he did it again to his good arm! Fortunately the second time around he only lost a finger, not the use of his entire good arm....