Hey folks, this is the Pony writing. Bruce asked that I write this post, so that he can get his Christmas chores out of the way. He did prime me (no pun intended) with a few things he wanted you to know. First, going back to that Thai tree, he and The Princess kept that thing for about two weeks fussing over it, but then decided it would look better back on a hillside in Thailand than in their living room. Pretty comical watching them try to stuff that tree back into its box, but the job was done, the tree is gone and the old 9 footer is back up in the living room for another year. Even with her numerous trips up and down the ladder, The Princess reports no serious injuries. Here are a couple snaps.
I thought you’d enjoy that shot of the best ornament on the tree.
Another thing Bruce asked me to pass along (don’t shoot the messenger), but breaking long-standing tradition, there will be no Christmas card mailing this year. He suggested that you accept this “Christmas letter” from me, in lieu thereof. That’s heaping a lot of pressure on me, but I’ll try to forgo the usual carping and snide comments and keep this on a higher plane than previous years. So, you can thank Bruce for speeding along the demise of both the greeting card industry and the US Postal Service. Oops, sorry, I already forgot about the “no snide comments” thing.
Third, he hasn’t spent a single minute out in the garage since before Thanksgiving, so I’m not only lonesome (there goes the “no carping”), but there’s no Pony news to report. It is pretty cold out here though, so I don’t blame him (much). I’m not sure if you ever noticed this, but Bruce likes to limit his blog posts to around a thousand words each, so that leaves me about 700 words to tell you a story. Bear in mind that you’re getting this story second-hand, and from a tractor, but what follows are the facts (to the best of my recollection) of a story I heard a reasonably trustworthy looking guy tell Gene out in the garage a couple of years back.
Every year it seems things get weird around Christmas and 2007 was no exception. Due to some financial reversals I’d been forced to move back in with my parents. This had been the situation for about six months, and although we’d settled into a reasonably amicable routine, the trust level between them and me wasn’t real good. I mean think of me in the shower after a dirty, hard day out in the December cold. I was just starting to feel the muscles relax under the hot shower and I sensed something change, I think maybe the light. I look up and here they both are, heads above the shower curtain, peering in at me.
“Hi Honey, you’ve been in here a long time, so we thought we’d better check on ya.”
Turns out they were each standing on a chair, gawking and talking. “Confound it, leave me alone will you. Can’t a guy get any peace and privacy in this house.”
“Oh honey, we just worry about youuu.”
“Get out, get out, get out!”
I relate that part of what was said, not because it has anything to do with the rest of the story, but so that you can see that I was paying attention, still have a good recall of details, even after several years, and so that you sense the weirdness that was part of this guy and part of his holidays as Christmas approached.
It was Christmas Eve. We were working a shortened day. I was foreman of a road crew laying fiber optic cable along Jones Ferry Road. We’d planned to knock off around 2:00 pm and it was approaching that, so I told the guys to start wrapping it up for the day. I was leaning into the cab of my pick-up to grab my two-way radio when behind me I heard what sounded like something crashing into the trees. When I turned I saw one of the guys, Lenny, standing gape-mouthed facing the woods and the ass-end of a big doe disappearing fast into the woods. My brain didn’t have more time, but if it had it would have reminded me that more than likely right behind that doe there’d be a buck in hot pursuit. Well sure enough, before you could say Merry Christmas, I heard hooves on the asphalt behind me, and in a flash that buck flew by me, but apparently didn’t see Lenny in time and I mean absolutely tore through him like he wasn’t even there.
Lenny went “ass over tea cups,” for a good 15 feet only stopping because his poor broken body made good solid contact with a a cedar tree at the edge of the woods, an audible whoosh of air exploding from his lungs. Jim and Terry had been about a hundred feet down the road, but arrived out of breath just as I leaned over Lenny to assess the situation. You know that scene in Ground Hog Day where after Bill Murray drives the stolen pick-up…and the stolen ground hog…off the cliff, and the truck hits the floor of a quarry upside down with a crash. The TV camera man looks over the edge and says, “He might be ok.” But then the pick-up bursts into flames and he says, “Well no, probably not?” That’s the kind of thought process I went through as I looked at the unconscious Lenny, and then saw blood pulsing out of a deep gash in his arm. The damn buck must’ve caught him with an antler tip.
Not a word from the guys as I mumbled, “Oh God, oh Jesus, we gotta do something quick.
I reached for my cell and nervously fumbling with the thing jabbed at the numbers 9-1-1. Cell reception is notoriously spotty as far out as we were on Jones Ferry, but when the ringing stopped and it sounded like the line had been answered I shouted into it our situation and our approximate location. When I had finished, there was static on the line, but no voice, nuthin. I told the guys I wasn’t sure I’d gotten through, gave Jim the phone and told him to keep calling until he actually got a voice on the line. I told Terry that I wasn’t even sure if Lenny was alive, but that if we didn’t stop that blood flow fast, he for sure wouldn’t be.
“Find something we can use as a tourniquet, I mean quick.”
In 30 seconds Terry was back with a dirty t-shirt he’d found in the back of the pick-up. I went once around Lenny’s arm, up as close to the shoulder as I could, and made a knot as tight as I could get it. The blood flow slowed, and as I looked away from Lenny for the first time, I saw a guy on a bike come over the rise. I must have looked like I was in real trouble, because when the guy got across the road from us he got off his bike, walked over and said, “Maybe I can give you a hand here.”
Alright, I see now that I’m well over the 1000 word limit, but I’m thinking you probably don’t want me to leave this thing hanging open until the next post, so I’ll try to wrap it up.
I still heard no sirens off in the distance and hope was fading that I’d even gotten through earlier. Jim kept trying, but was having no luck. I thought, crap, I hope this guy on the bike knows something. Amazingly he did. “Nice tourniquet guys.” After some initial assessment, the guy asked if anyone had a jack-knife. I pulled out mine, and he went into action. Before I knew it he’d sliced a length of tubing from some kind of drinking gear on his back, poked a hole in Lenny’s chest and slipped the tube in. For the first time since the buck took him down, I saw Lenny’s chest rise and fall as he started to breathe easy.
The guys scraped out the rear of Jim’s pick-up, and the four of us hefted the still unconscious Lenny into the bed. Jim roared out onto the road with Terry riding shotgun and the biker in the back, Lenny’s head in his lap. My hands were still shaking as I quickly worked to close down our work site for the day. Exhausted, I hopped in the truck and headed for the hospital wondering “who was that guy?” and hoping the best outcome for Lenny.
Jim and Terry were at the ER, and they assured me that everything looked good. Lenny was conscious and his arm would be “ok.”
“Where’s the biker?” I asked.
“You know that’s a funny thing. In the confusion that reined when we pulled in here we kind of lost track of that guy. His bike’s gone from the back of my truck and so is he.”
“I’ll be…well if that ain’t that the dangdest.”
I sat in the ER waiting room pondering the events of that Christmas Eve, mindlessly holding my cell phone, and noticed that I had a text message. The message had come in about two hours earlier at about the time all the excitement started. The message was from the number 9-2-2 and simply said, “I’ll be there in a minute.”
I’ll never fully understand what happened that day, and I think it’s probably useless to try. But I’m never going to forget the Christmas Eve when a doe, a buck and a biker changed everything.
Well, back to the present. No post should ever end without a little “art.” Here’s a photo of Bruce shamelessly sucking-up to the “big guy,” and both of them looking forward to Christmas.
Merry Christmas everyone from Bruce, The Princess and me. Thanks for reading.