The day before yesterday was an exciting day, as it was fraught with pain, misery, confusion and ridicule. See, it was like this; Vicki, the rural route driver was on her way here, and stopped at a rural lock-box. She put her truck in park, left it running, and stepped out to deliver to the box. Lo! and Behold! Her truck was visited by the great and fanciful spirit of chuckling Coyote, who jumped in the driver’s seat, slammed that puppy into drive and lit off down the hill sans Vicki. She tried to climb in the window , but the window as overly small while she was overly large.
Meantime the pretty red truck careened driver-less (unless you count Coyote, who may well have been ‘driving’ but who was not making the same sort of cchoices about direction, velocity nor hazard avoidance that a two-legged driver might) down a mighty steep slope, across a county road, through a maze of obstacles like an assortment of boulders, a crater or two, several telephone poles (it went under the guywire of one pole, missing the pole by about a foot, and the guywire by inches…), a cement post or two, an assortment of boulders and craters, through a barb-wire fence and half a mile across this pasture. Plucky little red truck. It was almost to the creek before a couple of kindly ranchers happened by and managed to grab a hold and chuck Coyote out from the controls.
Vicki, of course, was less than calm and level-headed at this time. As her truck careened, so did she. While the truck pluckily chose an obstacle-free path, Vicki did not. Flailing along down the tussocky hill behind her pretty red truck, Vicki tripped. I was not there, but I gather it was a little bit more intricate of a nameuver than just “tripping”: something a little closer to a reckless entanglement of limbs and a thudding, walloping crash to the ground. In her words; “it’s a wonder that doing a belly-flop like that I didn’t pee my pants!” Truly, I’m sorry I missed that spectacle.
I only heard about it some hours later, when the postmaster from a town down the road called to tell me Vicki would be late, and ask if I didn’t have an ace bandage and maybe som Betadine? It seems Vicki had hurt herself somewhat badly. Even so, she got the mail through! Had she been on the Pony Express instead of driving (Hah!) a pretty red truck (1996 model. Toyota. Matching red topper. Quite nice.), she would have limped into town with a bouquet of feathered arrows lodged in her person, a panting, bedraggled, splay-footed pony beneath her, and a precious pouch of letters clutched desperately to her nearly lifeless chest.
Actually, if you had ever seen Vicki, you would know that its rather hard to imagine Vicki’s chest in a lifeless state. While that vibrant, healthy, fulgent part of her anatomy is precisely what kept her from sliding in the open window of her pretty red truck, one can hardly condemn it for the very quality that makes it so magnificent.
As it was, Vicki limped haltingly on what seemed to be a broken ankle into my office, dripping blood from a nasty gash in the knee, and fretting heartily over the calamity. It is here that I enter the story, and I’m sorry to say that my entrance on stage only served to further complicate matters. You see, fearing that Vicki might have a broken bone, and finding that my own first aid kit lacked just about everything but a child-sized Band-Aid that sported words like ZAP, POW and ZOWIE in glow-in-the-dark letters, I called Ron, a local fellow who was trained in Emergency Medical treatment and had a county-supplied bag of medical do-dahs. Being a neighbor and all, I though that maybe Ron could just step in and have a look-see if Vicki should go post-haste to the hospital, and maybe lend us a bandage or two.
Little do I know Ron. He called County Dispatch, donned his little EMT outfit, strutted in here with tanks of oxygen, splints, surgical gloves,…I wouldn’t be surprised if he had a portable kidney dialysis machine in his bag, along with a defibrillator and perhaps a gurney. A veritable Mary Poppins with a dangerously small portion of common sense coupled with a dangerously large sense of self-importance. He got Vicki’s leg splinted, her knee bandaged, all her vitals written down and duly relayed to the dispatch desk (over his two-way radio, of course), which, by law had to notify the highway patrol (this little act of kindness of mine in response to Vicki’s injuries had run as far out of control as her truck had already done, and i was beginning to smell the Puckish presence of Coyote once again). And the Highway patrol actually chased Vicki down on the road after she left here and tried to write her a ticket. Luckily, the good officer could not think of a single violation to write up. She just wanted to justify having driven over sixty miles to the scene of a victim-less, largely damage-less (Vicki’s truck suffered some barb-wire scrateches and a cracked turn signal, and the kindly ranchers had a hole in their fence. That’s all.) accident. Oh wat a day it was.
Neihart being the cozy little hamlet it is, the entire population was pretty much instantly informed of the particulars of this fiasco, and much chatter ensued. I don’t doubt that there has been a fair amount of head-shaking, tsk-tsking and sarcasm all around. At least Vicki now knows to always apply her emergency brake when not in the vehickle, and I now know not to ask Ron for help unless several gallons of blood have been lost, the airway is obstructed, a bluish pallor overcomes the skin, and at least one bone is actually protruding from the body.
On the positive side; Hardy Fritz, who runs the local grocery offered to drive Vicki through the remainder of her route (for Vicki was in no shape to drive herself), and I volunteered to drive to Belt to pick him up when he was done with her route. Small town life has its rewards!