Our Momma had to rank in the 90th percentiles for mothers when it came to keeping us kids safe. There could not have been a single warning we didn't hear growing up. If we were out of her sight for more than twenty minutes, she came looking for us. The only way we could get away with anything 'dangerous' was to sneak away from the house. The stock tank south of the barn was one of those forbidden destinations. It was like a magnet for Betty and me - especially on hot summer days. I cannot tell you how many times we sneaked around the coal house, the chicken house, the corn crib and the barn to get into the water tank; only to have our Mom show up with a willow switch in hand. As she marched us back to the house, we felt the sting of the switch on the backs of our bare legs. "How many times do I have to tell you to stay out of the tank?"
I was nine and a half in the picture above. I think it was the following summer my wayward ways led to one of my most painful experiences. I wasn't trying to be a cowboy, I was just trying to emulate my big brother. Ron was was fourteen and already tall that summer. When he went down to the east pasture to bring the cows up for evening milking, he would vault onto the back of one and ride up the lane.
One afternoon when Betty and I had "piked off" (as Mom put it) we were out in the cow lot - possibly on our way to the tank. Some of the cows were lying down. I got the brilliant idea of riding one as I'd seen Ron do. So I got on the back of one (Dinah, I think) and she stood up. But she just stood there. I told Betty, "Make her go!" She made her move, alright. She twisted the cow's tail and the cow took off like a shot. Everything was going okay until the cow took a sharp right and I kept going straight. I landed on my left shoulder. The pain was excruciating. I was screaming, "I'm killed, I'm killed!" Betty took off to get Mom, but she was already halfway to the cow lot. She had either heard my screams or was coming to check on us to make sure we weren't in the tank again.
Mom picked me up and took me to Dr. Fry. The diagnosis was a nearly dislocated shoulder. Three weeks ago today, I had surgery to replace that shoulder. I firmly believe the reason the shoulder deteriorated can be traced back to the injury I suffered fifty-seven years ago. And even though I kid Ron about it being his fault (I hope he knows I'm kidding), I know it was my own unwise choice to try and ride a cow.
So far, everything about my shoulder replacement surgery has been positive. It was a lot less painful and the healing has been faster than I had anticipated. I started physical therapy yesterday and am looking forward to having full use of my shoulder/arm in time for spring cleaning and flower planting.
Two things did happen before and after surgery that seemed significant to me: the morning of surgery I was completely calm. I've always had good health; no surgeries, etc., so I thought I would be a nervous wreck. Instead, no qualms whatsoever.
After surgery, when I was coming out of recovery and they said they were taking me to my room where Bud was waiting for me, I was still a little groggy - conscious enough to know it wasn't going to happen - but I had the overwhelming thought/desire that my Mom was going to be there waiting for me in the room, too. She was there to pick me up when I originally got hurt. I guess I felt she would/should be there for me when I got the owie fixed.
You never get over wanting or needing your Mommie.