Welcome back to my stroll down memory lane. Due to some excitement with blog tours and cover reveals, I missed last week, but I’m resuming my regularly scheduled program today.
This particular story is one of those OMG, how did I not die? stories.
As I did often during the latter half of summer, this day I was baling hay in melt-your-bones-hot weather. The machine was three pieces: the tractor, the bale thrower, and the wagon. Here’s a picture of the bale thrower courtesy of the CASE International website so you know what I’m talking about below:
My instructions from Dad, as always, were to drive a straight line and keep an eye to make sure the machinery was working okay. Should be simple enough, right?
Yeah, not so much. You see, this field was almost entirely a steep hill. Great for tobogganing down in the winter, but not so much for working on.
Everything was going swimmingly until a bale of hay jammed in between the two spinning tread-mill-type belts that were supposed to launch it into the wagon.
In the middle of the hill.
Now, what I should have done is shut the baler off and driven to the top of hill to fix it. Being a young teen, hot and probably peed-off, I didn’t think of that.
What did I do, you ask? Something not very bright thinking back on it. Because the tractor didn’t have a working parking brake, I used a stick we kept for such purposes to wedge between the tractor cab and the brake. Once I’d secured that, I climbed down from the tractor and onto the bar of the wagon where it attached to the baler. I commenced reefing on the jammed bale.
I think you can guess what happened next.
Yep, if that dang stick didn’t slip off the brake.
I froze for a split second as I realized I was in the middle of the 3 machines, barreling backwards down a hill. When I pulled my head out of my rear, I did something equally stupid. Instead of letting it go and facing Dad’s wrath (kidding, he was as capable of wrath as a teddy bear was capable of turning into a ninja) I jumped up on the baler, ran along the top of it and dove head-first into the back of the tractor’s cab, then jammed both arms down on the brake. It took a while, and I was almost completely jack-knifed, but I eventually stopped.
I’m pretty sure I choked out my heart and it was laying there on the floor in front of me for a while before it climbed back down my throat.
Of course, Dad had seen the whole thing as he pulled up with an empty wagon. Damn, I had rotten luck that day. But I guess I lived to tell the tale, so it wasn’t all bad. 🙂
Next week we’ll learn how NOT to deal with an out of control brush fire.