Throw back…the river runs wild..

This story goes back about 6 years or so.. I remembered it on our way to town thinking about spring and all it brings.. baby calves.. YEAH!! And usually the river 🌊running..boo..makes going home tough and longer..so about 6 years ago the snow ❄️started melting and water began to rise..then is rained and added more misery..the Stauff called and said no way I was going to be able to get home..for those who know me it was like he just gave me a life sentence.. a whole weekend in town.  Ohmeegosh..dread.. one weekend down in town.. the kids created their own moonshine still in the yard.. yea yea a story for another day..here comes the next weekend..I have now reached the point I NEED to go to the ranch. I tell The Stauff literally come hell or high water I am coming home.. He says “you might have to ride the cart across the river” I tell him “I rode that cart for 18 years..that is no problem for me”.  “Hah” I thought. I am a big girl I can do this.. keep in mind the kids were little.. Wyatt was 10 and Jay was 8. The kids had always heard me tell stories of rides in the cart..now for those who don’t know. The cart is a little wooden box about 3×5 feet that is connected to a cable, like a trolley car. The cable was stretched across the river and was the way my brother and I went to school or got mail when the river got too high to cross. I had never really pulled myself across, that was my parents and brothers job..I was merely the passenger. I headed out of town later than what I wanted..groceries and kids, we headed north. We cross the bridge at the highway which our river eventually runs to..and it was big.. bank to bank and there, it is a big channel.. A little part of me was like “oh holy shit maybe I should have stayed”. But that other part of me was like “naw, you are a ranch girl..you have balls! You got this”. We slipped and slid through the mud all 30 miles. The kids were so excited to finally ride the cart. It is now dark..but the moon is shining like a flashlight lighting our path..We grabbed our mail and slid down the hill through all the gumbo mud to the river. Now once you get to the bottom of the hill there is one curve where you can see the river if it is big..needless to say, we saw water before the curve.. again..that little part of me said “oh shit, this isn’t good”, yet that other part said, “thank God you are almost home. Now move along and get home”. Chad was there waiting for us.. I parked the pickup away from the river just in case it got higher so the pickup wouldn’t get swept away. The kids and I grabbed some stuff and trudged through the snow, mud and logs to find our way to the cart. I threw the stuff into the cart and hiked Wyatt up.. that little part of me says “dang, I don’t remember the cart being quite this high off the ground”. The other part of me says, “wow..the moon shining on the water is pretty”..the water was big..really big.. Wyatt is so excited..Jay starts to cry.. she mumbled “bahhhh..I am scared…bahhh I want Dad…bahhh” I looked at her and said “well sunshine the only way you are going to get your dad is to get your little ass in the cart and move across the river..we are too far into this now..so MOVE!” Reluctantly she let me throw her into the cart. I threw some groceries that I had packed into the cart. Now the only way I could communicate with Chad was to scream over the rushing water that was about to be below me..my mind filtered through all the memories of my childhood on how we did this.. I jumped up into the cart and gave myself a push…the ancient cart moaned and groaned and slowly rolled toward the river. Jay was still bawling..Wyatt was still excited..and I was starting to panic..I couldn’t believe how big the river was.. it was moving fast..millions of scenarios started running through my mind.. one part of me said “WTF are you doing? There is NO way you can do this?” My other part of me, the badass side says, “frick, I agree WTF are you doing?” Then all three of us panicked..I get to about 3/4 of the way across and the cart stops.. here we are dangling above a raging river in the middle of the night.. I told myself that this was it..I was done.. no clue what I was going to do.. The Stauff is trying to pull the cable on his side..the cart lurked and slowly crept to the side of the bank where The Stauff could grab the cart and finish pulling us to the stopping area.. that little part of me said “Get on the ground and thank Jesus, God and every other Devine intervention”. While the other part of me said, “yeah baby, that’s the way it is done..baboom”. We all get out of the cart.. I am still shaking. The Stauff says, “you still have groceries in the pickup?”. I said “yea, there is about 6 sacks left”. He says, “ok, you guys stay here and I will run over there and get it”. He jumps in the cart and away he goes. He gets to the other side in seemingly record time. He hollers at me over the water “I think I got my fingers”. I holler back, “serves you right for going to fast”. He grabs the groceries and hops into the cart and pulls himself over, again, making record time. He jumps out of the cart and says, “the wheel ran over my fingers, I am scared to take my glove off, I think it cut them off”. I thought I was going to pass out. I told him that we needed to get to the pickup with lights so we could see..we all grab groceries and go stumbling through sagebrush and logs to the awaiting pickup. I thought I was going to throw up but knew somehow I had to keep myself pulled together. We got to the pickup and we opened the door to see what had happened.. he slid his glove off and thankfully everything was still attached..but there was blood. I told him that I would take him across the cart and to town to get his hand looked at..inside I was like “omg..I don’t think I can do this” but kept a determined look just the same. He said that he just wanted to go home that he would be fine. Guilt started to come across me. I felt bad that all of this bullshit that we had just went through was for me being stubborn.. half way home of the 4 miles he said “there is so much pain in my hand, I have to pull over, I think I am going to pass out”. He stops in the road as we were following a muddy rut trail and laid down on the flatbed for a bit. The kids and I and all our groceries stuffed around us.  Wyatt looks at me in the midst of the utter quiet and whispered, “what are we going to do with Dad?” I looked at him, jay was still whimpering Wyatt needed answers.. In my best adult advice I could drum up I said, “I don’t have a damn clue”.. Wyatt just sat there and was like “oh, ok”. About 15 mins goes by and The Stauff crawls back in the pickup and away we go. We get home and he tried to wash the blood off, but water flowing on top of it sends him over the edge. I got sick.. I grabbed my Google machine and Google smashed fingers, symptoms and treatment. According to Mayo Clinic, he would survive and there is nothing a Dr. could do for them. I felt some relief.. I told The Stauff of my findings.. I don’t think he found comfort in them. He somehow pulled through the night and was able to clean them the next day. We went back to town on Sunday and since the water had dropped significantly by then we were able to cross the river in the pickup to get to mine. One would think the story was over.. but it picked back up a few weeks later.. we had gone in early to attend church. We were sitting in our pew in the clear back. It was the usual seating arrangement, me, Jay, Wyatt and The Stauff. The Stauff was pestering the kids as usual and I was busy hushing giggles and laughs as usual. Chad leans over the kids and says “hey, smell my fingers do they smell?” I glared at Chad with the ‘hush’ look.. he stuck his fingers to the kids 👃 noses and the kids shreiked “yuck, that is gross”. The Stauff looked at me kinda funny and he leaned over and whispered, “I think my fingers really stink, can you smell them?”. I looked at him and said “really? We are in church and you want me to smell your fingers? How about after lunch?” He just smiled at me and agreed..we finish church and go grab lunch. We are kicked back at the playhouse and he says, “hey will you smell my fingers, they really do smell”. So I gave in and smelled his fingers..the same ones he smashed in the wheel of the cart. I thought I was going to puke after a brief sniff. My eyeballs jumped up and I said “holy shit, your fingers are rotten, get your shoes we are going to ER room.. away we go kids in tow.. we get the Dr and explain what had happened earlier.. a couple X-rays of his hand and he pulled up a chair with the diagnosis.. when Chad ran his fingers over in the wheel, the pressure actually blew the tips of his two fingers out and he had fractured the bones in his fingers. All four mouths kinda hung open.. the Dr continued to tell us that the hide under his nails was basically rotten so he would need to remove that and scrub all the bad gross stuff out..so sure enough the Dr pulled both nail beds completely off. He scrubbed the fingers until he had good blood pouring into the pan..the kids and I just sat and stared…that one part of me said “poor Stauff, geezus, I feel terrible”. The other part of me said, ” hmmm,that didn’t go as planned”… that following summer we bought a rope that would pull us across so we wouldn’t he to use the cable.. and to this day, have never had to use it.. 🤔😜🤗 and if the river would be too high to venture home again..I would buy more alcohol and stay in town..lesson learned. 🍻

T

T

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