Friday Frivolity: Significant Impact

There are times when brothers question each other about remembering times from long ago.  It is often quite amusing how each of my brothers often have varying opinions about details of things that happened in our MUCH younger years.

Recently, my youngest sibling asked questions regarding things which happened during the late 1950’s.  Neither of his older brother’s had clear memories from that era, especially with regard to who slept in what bed—3 boys, one bedroom.  Middle-brother, known as ‘bama Bob, admits his memory of the 50’s is poor.  That’s excusable because he was quite young at that time.  My memory of the 50’s is excusable because I’m quite old, now.

However foggy some memories are, it is true there are some specific events of that era which are clear in my mind…mostly because of the significant impact on my life.  Allow me to share two of such significant events.

I recall pounding in a tent-peg at Boy Scout Jamboree, waaaay back when.  The significant impact of that occurrence was not camping at the historic Valley Forge.  Rather, it was when the blade of the peg-pounding hatched and impacted my knee.

I’m not going to brag about my Scout First-aid training kicking quickly into gear.  Rather than instant recall of quick-response training, it was pain and gushing blood that initiated hands on the  pressure point of the wound, screams of 911 (albeit before 911) and “stop-drop-and-roll.”

Wait! That’s what you do if you’re on fire, not bleeding from a gash in the knee.  But, roll is exactly what I remember doing.

That’s the first time I remember riding in an ambulance…that is, if you can call a WWII Jeep and stretcher an ambulance.  No siren, just me screaming.  I was too young to contemplate being macho and morphine was not an option at a Boy Scout camp.  Okay, so a siren was not necessary.  It was not a life threatening situation and siren-clearing speed was not needed.

Fact is, speeding across a campground in a jeep would only have only added to the discomfort. As it was, I did get a sense of what it might have been like for General Washington’s chuck-wagon cook delivering dinner to the troops.  It sure felt like we drove the full length of Valley Forge to get to the MASH tent.  A few stitches, more gauze and bandage than a total knee replacement would get today, and my Jamboree was over.

Also in the 50s, the second “significant impact” on my life was my chest against tree roots at Moore’s Park.  For those unfamiliar with the Lansing area, Moore’s Park was the sight of a very popular public swimming pool and adjacent picnic grounds along the Grand River.  It was also close enough to my home to ride my bike there.

My best friend at that time bet me a dream-scicle I wouldn’t dare ride my bike down a steep hill next to the pool.  It was his second bet with me that very afternoon.  Hey, I had not drowned following a plunge off the 10 meter platform on an earlier bet, so I figured my luck would hold out.  Enticing me to race down the hill was kinda double-or-nothing for him.  For me…I thought it was a sure bet of refreshment. Off I went.

Do you know the rate of deceleration of a bicycle wheel in a sand trap?  Don’t bother with the formula.  The short answer is—sudden.  Suddenly, my handlebars blurred below my chin and I launched like superman without a cape.  But, I was not airborne for long.  The formula for rate-of-decent isn’t necessary.  Impact with the root strewn hill was quite soon.  Momentum lasted much longer.  Long is also descriptive of the skid marks on my bare chest.

I don’t remember actually “bleeding”, but the etchings of the roots, rocks, and rough ground were certainly crimson over 100% of my chest.  It was a small chest.  Okay, so maybe it was just 50%.  But some of the scrapes did extent to my abdomen and thighs if that helps to prove this event had a significant impact.