Chip and Tom helped me with the cattle from time to time. One time when chip was 15 or 16 and felt he was bulletproof, he knew with his mind and strength he could deal with any cow he met. He was helping me put a half Brahma half Charolais cow in the working chute. She did not want to go, but Chip was going to put her there. She started toward him and he took a “just bring it on” stance. She did not slow down as she went right over the top of him, and he wound up on his back in the mud with the funniest look on his face. As soon as I saw he did not have broken bones or other major damage, except his dignity, I was laughing so hard; I had to sit down on the ground in the mud myself. This was a real learning experience for Chip. He could not believe that that cow didn’t just bounce off of him.
There are lots of opportunities for accidents, bumps, bruises and an occasional broken bone when you are living and working on a farm. I could relate a number but the closest I ever came to making headlines because of an accident was a careless mistake I made. I was plowing one spring day on my big powerful Farmall M pulling a 38 disc harrow. This was before three point hydraulic lifts and the harrow was simply hooked to the hitch of the tractor. Collin county was one of those places in Texas where there were underground springs that would appear only after long period of rain-usually in the spring and the rest of the year they would be totally dry. You could drive across a pasture in August and never know there were there. Drive across in the spring and you had better know where they were and be ready if you happened to drop into one because once in your only course of action was full throttle and hope to get to the other side on dry land.
This particular beautiful spring day I was plowing along enjoying the day, the puffy white clouds, the robin egg blue sky, and most of all that wonderful smell of freshly turned soil. The moisture in the soil was perfect, just right for working and was boiling out behind the harrow. It was beautiful. As I was enjoying all this my heavy tractor suddenly dropped out from under me. We spot, underground spring, dang!!
I quickly pushed the throttle to the firewall and the big M dug in and began to lug down. The harrow finally stopped completely but the rear drive wheels continued to turn. The result was the front end of the tractor quickly rose into the air. Sensing the danger, I snapped off the ignition but just in time. The two ton tractor sat in the middle of the field with its nose pointed straight toward the sky. Another two seconds and that big machine would have fallen over on its back crushing me between it and the harrow.
One day as I left for work, I told Tom to mow the north pasture. Well, when I got home that afternoon late Charlotte cautioned me to not fuss at him because he had run the tractor through the fence and was busy fixing the fence when I arrived. Neither Tom nor I ever mentioned it. After all, anyone can make a mistake while driving a tractor…