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Epinetus once again became quiet.




George asked him if he was alright.


Epinetus answered with the following; 


“Becoming stuck in a mud hole was soon thought of as a normal part of the day. Extracting the wagon from these tenacious bogs became so commonplace that Grandfather and Uncle Henry became nonchalant about it. On one such instance Grandfather was driving the horses so as to put pressure on them to pull ahead. Uncle Henry had his right hand on a wheel spoke and his left hand on the rim. The wagon lurched forward and up on a rock. The horses could not hold the fully loaded wagon and it rolled back to its original position.”


Horses and wagon


“Uncle Henry screamed in pain and it was a few moments before Grandfather realized what had happened. Uncle Henry’s hand was caught between the wheel and the earth. The wagon had to be backed up in order to free Uncle Henry. Grandfather was able to move the horses backward and Uncle Henry’s hand was released. The horribly heavy load of the wagon had already taken its toll. Uncle Henry had several broken bones in his hand and one of the bones had punctured a hole through the palm.”


Stuck Wagon


“Grandmother washed his hand in a nearby stream, placed a homemade salve on the open wound and wrapped the whole thing in the whitest cloth that she could find.”


Epinetus winced and closed his eyes as he finished the story. George sat on the edge of his chair and lit up another factory-made cigarette.


“The pain was almost unbearable but Uncle Henry insisted on continuing to walk beside the wagon. Finally, however, the throbbing became so strong that he had to lie down in the ox cart. Someone spied a white willow tree and a piece of bark was cut from it. Uncle Henry chewed on the bark and this natural pain reliever did its job. Once Uncle Henry was more comfortable Grandmother changed the bandage and applied new salve. The new bandage included a small flat board for a splint.”


“That was a bad day” said Epinetus as he continued his story.


© wtomosky