What If. . .

Lew Goddard

© Copyright 2020 by Lew Goddard

Photo of a man looking in a rear view mirror.

Now I have more time to spend without going to work. I found myself searching back in memory counting the number of times that I could have been injured and possibly die due to the circumstances. Some of the situations were accidental, some were intentional and others just complete stupidity. I must say that I knew the hazards when I employed the actions.

The following is what I remember and I might embellish the telling to allow the reader to understand, and place his judgment on me.


Five years old, (in 1941), living on a farm with my parents and two sisters. My Dad worked for the farmer who owned the homestead where we were living. The farmer’s home was a mile to the north.

One fine warm sunshine day, my Dad took me along to go “haying.” This meant that two racks drawn by two horses each were on the hay field. This was back breaking work forking the loose hay into the racks where it had been gathered in rows.

Long about three in the afternoon a sudden rain storm became imminent and the farmer and my Dad hurried to get as much hay back to the farmer’s home as they could. It started to rain, and hay gathering was abandoned. The horses were forced to run and at the entrance to the driveway they abruptly turned and the rack over turned.

Within a few seconds, I was totally covered with about two tons of hay and couldn’t move. It was difficult to breathe because of the dust and the weight on top of me.

I could hear the farmer and my Dad yelling to each other. I assume that my Dad had a good idea where I was under the load and he soon freed me.

I was covered with hay and dirt but otherwise not injured.


At the farm where we lived, there was a vacant barn about two hundred feet south of the house.

Since there were no animals housed there it was an excellent place to explore. I found out that if I rooted around in the floor and mangers, I could scare out a Norway Rat.. Oh, yes, I had my female terrier with me, and when I disturbed a rat, she was very adept at killing them. She did not eat them, just left where they fell. I used a hockey stick with the blade missing to dig around the area.

The dog’s name was christened “Prudence” by my Mother. I shortened that silly name to “Prudie.” It sounded more aggressive.

Now you might think this was no big deal. But I have since learned that Rats will fight back and jump at you if they are cornered. For those who are familiar with the size of rats, know that they can cause a severe injury with their teeth and claws. They even growl.


In 1942, we moved to town and I started school.

Once I was acclimatized and toward fall when the sun didn’t rise until about eight thirty A.M. some of us started a contest. It involved staring at the sun. We were able to do that with our classroom facing east.

The one, who lasted the longest, won the contest that morning.

Can you imagine? The danger of losing your eyesight should have happened not long after the staring contests.

I am thankful to say that I have near 20/20 vision in 2019. I have double vision but that enables me to take my glasses off when I see a pretty woman and then I can see two.


Six years old and three dangerous incidents already


The first place we lived was an old closed store with two large rooms that we made into a resemblance of a house. It was OK because I didn’t know any better.

In the back room there was a trapdoor that led to a cellar where it was cold and potatoes and carrots were stored down there. On one occasion, My Mother asked me to get her some vegetables and she lit an old barn lantern so I could see when I was in the cellar. There was no electric light down there.

Off I went holding the lantern carefully but not watching where I was going carefully, I fell backwards down the wooden steps eight feet to the bottom of the cellar. To this day, I wondered who helped me because I didn’t drop or break the lantern and I didn’t hurt myself.


A couple of years went by without mishap. At least, it was not enough to report.

Circa: 1944-45.

On Main street in my home town, there was an old rock and mortar building all ready to collapse. Actually, there wasn’t much left. Long ago, of no definite date, the building was ravaged by fire. The Town Fathers did not exercise provision of safety fences, so we hung out at the site.

We decided, some of my friends with a common age of about nine, that it would be fun to break down one corner of the walls. They were located on the northwest corner and probably reached ten feet in height. Weather and other ravages had worn out some of the mortar and we picked a point to enhance that. At first, we used our hands and pocket knives but they were not helpful tools. We all went home and “borrowed” a screwdriver from our Dad’s tools.

Then we were able to break more of the mortar. We continued on for a while and then all three of us started pushing a portion of the wall. It swayed a bit to start and then we really had it where it was going to go down.

We watched it crumble and collapse into the basement. We were satisfied that we had enjoyed knocking it down.

Covered with dust, we headed home.

Due to the dust on our clothes, our parents learned (somehow), what we had done.

We were all prohibited to going back there.

Do you think we stayed away?



Winter arrived and because we didn’t have any assemblance of snow removal in the streets, they just became packed down. That included Main Street.

I don’t recall how we got our hands on an old car hood, or at least the most of it.

We (some of my friends and cousins), attached a rope and we pulled each other around town. There were no hills, just level ground, so we became bored.

One of us thought that it would be serious fun to somehow attach the “sled” behind a car by looping the rope over the back bumper and hitch a ride. Bumpers on cars at this time stood out away from the vehicle and a rope could easily be looped over.

We all had turns trying this out and with some difficulty some of us managed to ride for about a block.

Angle parking helped us to hitch a ride. When the car stopped after backing out from the curb, we ran over and hooked up to the bumper. Because we were so low behind the car drivers never knew we were there.

UNTIL---being somewhat dissatisfied of hitching a straight ride, we each decided to hang on when the car turned a corner. Unfortunately, a driver or a passenger of a car spotted one of us and there was Hell to pay.

There was a little uproar amongst our parents and our “sled” disappeared.


I forgot about my appendectomy when I was seven. One day a pain started in my lower right side in front and it got to be pretty bad. My Mother kept me from school the next day and for some reason I couldn’t really wake up. Later that afternoon, my Dad arranged to have someone drive us to the Indian Head hospital. We did not have a car.

Apparently, my appendix was near bursting and some of the toxins had seeped into my blood.

Surgery occurred almost immediately and seven days later, I went home.

Had an extra three weeks from school. It was in June.


Sometime later I was about 13, a number of us used to con someone with a car to take us to the Qu’Apelle Valley about ten miles north of town.

This was only in the winter when there was lots of snow.

We transported a variety of toboggans and sleds. The drop was a sharp angle where it was convenient to the road for transportation. Don’t ask me the percentage of the grade but it was steep. When we employed our equipment, it was approximately one hundred feet to the bottom.

Tiring of sitting down, we stood up on the toboggan feeling the excitement of nearly flying. We managed to have some bruises and it could have been a lot worse.


I started to smoke when I was thirteen and quit when I was forty.

I am so fortunate that my lungs are in pretty good shape.


Long about nine or ten I would go to the rink in winter and skate when it was free.
I was playing with friends and racing around when I fell. My left foot skate blade hooked in the old vertical boards around the ice. It twisted my knee somewhat backwards and it hurt like Hell.

The rink manager came out to me and helped me back on my skates. I couldn’t put any weight on my left leg.

We went into the change room and the manager rolled up my jeans and had a look. He said it looked like my left knee was partly out of joint. He lifted my foot and pulled a bit. It hurt, but it did feel better.

My parents arranged to get me to a Doctor and he said, looking me in the eye, “No more skating for you this winter, son.”


After that one of the local hockey players asked me if I would be goal judge behind the hockey nets. I said OK. At one end I could stay in the change room and look through the window. At the other end the ice was right up to the wall. In that case, I stood precariously right behind the net. Pucks bounced all over and I wasn’t sure I liked judging in that location.

I didn’t get hit with a puck. Can’t really remember why I quit.


I started to play baseball when I was thirteen. First as a Catcher and then First Base.

On one occasion, a few years later, the opposing batter hit a grounder to our second base man. He was about 25 feet from me and he threw the ball as quickly as possible just like the coach said to do. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to react and grab it with my Trapper and it hit my right testicle. I dropped to the ground and did not play the rest of the game.

Doctor said it would get better but, it bothered me for quite a few years.

I must say, I assume that my left testicle did the job it was designed to do. I have two daughters


For some reason, I fought with one of my student friends?? All the way through from grade one to grade twelve. Most of the time, we just wrestled until one of us gave up.

After school one day, (we must have been seventeen and well-muscled,), we actually were angry and we fought viciously. We both fell to my left and landed in some shrubbery. Others broke us up and we started to go home.

Another student told me that there was blood running onto the ground by my left foot. I quickly found that I had a cut just above my right knee and through my jeans I could feel it was wide open.

Seven stitches later, I searched the bush and found a broken glass milk bottle with a bit of blood on it.
Ironically, my opponents Father operated the local dairy and the broken bottle made it way mysteriously near the school.

I might mention that we got into fisticuffs when we were graduates. He blackened one of my front teeth which long ago became a root canal and has been dead many years.

I wrestled him onto the gravel and he had abrasions on one side of his face.

Enough said.


The word was out in our small area that I was willing and able to work on farms.

A farmer called, he was in haying season and wished to get the hay inside or stacked before the next rain.
I worked for a while. My job was spreading the hay evenly on the rack that had been raked previously in rows. and then brought into the rack with a huge endless belt behind the rack.

Horses were used for pulling the rack. When we went to the farmstead, the belt mechanism was detached. Another job was to hook up the rotating belt behind the rack.

On one occasion, the horses didn’t stop soon enough to easily hitch the belt.

Picture this, hitching required me to place myself between the rack and the belt loader.

Horses kept backing up and fortunately I was quick enough to jump out of the way. The coming together of the machinery absolutely crushed a solid peaked hat that I was wearing. (Very much like a policeman’s hat.)

When metal met metal, I would have suffered the crunch much like my hat.


While in employment in a small Saskatchewan town, my co-worker (We’ll call him William), and I co-coached a baseball team of twelve to fifteen years of age.

I don’t recall just how long our coaching lasted that summer. The year was 1955.

However, we also transported the team with our cars to out of town games.

Sometimes it was dark before we reached home.

On one return trip, nearly dark and with no forward planning we decided to race.

Back then, not all highways were paved and in fact we often chose a municipal gravel road, if it was shorter. Part way home we raced for about two or three miles on this dusty road. I don’t remember how fast we travelled but I know I had the hammer to the floor and managed to pass him in the cloud of dust. He slowed down and I did the same.

When we arrived in town I stopped and stepped out of my c ar. With triumphant feelings I went back to brag about winning the race.

To my astonishment, the driver’s side of his car had been sideswiped and it was a mess.

We were in big trouble and our coaching careers were over.

I helped with his deductible on his insurance. I did find that we didn’t have the same relationship as before.

He was transferred shortly after that.


During a period of thirteen to eighteen, I worked for a farmer who lived in town.

He would pick me up at my place at 6:00 A.M., take me out to his farm and illustrate what I had to do that day.

I summer fallowed by disking, greased the machinery, planted the grain, swathed, helped ready the combine for harvesting, helped burn the stubble after harvesting. or anything that needed fixing.

I believe I was fifteen one fall day when I was swathing 80 acres. The tractor was not very large, it was called a Fordson. It was in the afternoon and I thought that the tractor would soon be out of gas and I had better go to the farm yard and fill up.

Just to make sure, I lifted part of the hood to see the gas cap underneath and opened the tank.

I was leaning over the tank about six inches above and I HAD A CIGARRTE IN MY MOUTH!!!!

I flipped it rapidly away and into the stubble. Damn, I ran to where it was smoldering and buried it. I didn’t want the stubble to burn until after harvest.

(This is a bit out of order but I hope you will forgive me.)


In 1956 I was transferred to a town in north western Saskatchewan. I arrived on October 6th to find six inches of snow on the ground. I had never been this far north before and thought this was normal. It warmed up and I remember Remembrance Day was near 70F and sunny.

It was also my first time to be far enough from my parents that I wouldn’t be going home on weekends.

One thing let to another and one of my co-worker’s (Warren), and I basically had a long nonstop party.

(In fact, the next summer we had a two week long party underway at the lake that was a mere fifteen miles from town.

We worked in the bank and each day, of course, we had to balance the books. Well, rather than be finished by no later than four o’clock, it became 4:15. 4:30 and then 5:00 P.M.

On that occasion, our boss called us into his office after the front door was locked and he issued an ultimatum.


(We slowed down a bit.)

This seemed to get worse instead of better. Our association with those who partook of the alcohol beverage and us, took a bad turn one night. For some reason, two guys in a pickup truck decided to annoy us and blocked one road exiting the lake. We doubled back and took another road and headed home. We didn’t make it all the way and the pickup truck was faster than my car and he bumped the rear bumper, twice, at about 85 MPH. I saw red and also the danger and stopped and jumped out of the car and met the driver of the truck, face to face. Unfortunately, he was quicker with his fists and he managed to affect some damage. I found out later that he was a semi-professional boxer. I didn’t stand a chance.

The rest of the crew stopped the fighting and we proceeded toward home.

But I had to make a side trip to the emergency and have three stitches in my lower lip.

The girls took my car and went to the police, (There was only one RCMP in town), waking the officer’s wife.

The Constable was not pleased when he came to see me the next day. He was angry when I said I would not lay charges against my opponent.

I was relieved that I received a transfer shortly after that to another location.


In 1958 I landed in another Saskatchewan town. This was located in the central part of the province.

It was not very long that I learned what entertainment could be achieved. There were circumstances that prompted what I am going to tell you.

In the early spring of 1959, I became involved in drag races. Wait until I tell you where they took place.

At this time, I was fortunate to own a 1954 Olds. Holiday Coupe that was top of the line. The horsepower was just what a 23-year-old guy could wish for.

I tested it one day on the highway to see how fast it would go. It did very well.

Then, somehow with no advance planning a drag race took place.

ON THE HIGHWAY to a point two miles south of town. This race took place about 1:00 A.M. on a clear night and a clear road.


Then we stopped at the farm at the farm located beside the highway and went in to visit a couple of men that my opponent and I knew.

This stop was for a beer or something of this nature. Although, we were not really welcome at that time of night, the boys fed our thirst.

I don’t recall how many times a drag race took place but it was determined that only one other vehicle could reach a higher speed than I could.

When I think I was so stupid to race two side by side vehicles down a two-lane highway in the dark, I wonder why I’m still alive.


As an aside, this town will always be in my memory bank.

It is where I met a slim young lady. She is still with me today. (2020)


Things and life changed very much after that and it seems I was either lucky or I used better judgement until 1966. I was stationed in Kinmdersly and probably because of my occupation change to enforcing Public Health Law I managed to obtain a Staphylococcal Infection in my nose.

In plain language, I had a boil in both nostrils. Also developed one on my right hand.

I was admitted to the hospital so that they could determine what to do in case the infection moved into my blood stream. I stayed overnight.

A further change of location and I went under the care of a new Doctor.

I survived this episode and have had no further problems.


After arriving in Leduc in 1966 I experienced an incident that was scary.

I was in the process of responding to some kind of complaint at a rental home and in the winter, it is often about heating.

In this case, I knocked on the door and a young boy about eight opened it. What I saw was this huge opening at the end of the rifle that was aimed at me. The man was sitting behind the table but I didn’t stay around. I immediately went to the City Police and they took care of it.


IN Breton, I was conducting an investigation about the condition of a rental property. I found out that the owner resided in town and I went to see him at his workplace.

Once I told him what I wanted he went into a rage and came right over the counter to attack me. I backed onto the public sidewalk and stopped. In those few seconds, he cooled down and he relented to allow me to conduct the inspection.


At the end of a meeting regarding a Landfill, the farmer who was against having “it in his backyard,” advised me.

He stood no more than six inches from me and he said, “If I ever see you close to my farm, I will take my shot gun to you.”


One sunny summer day, I was on my way back to my office and then home for lunch. I was driving west on 50h Street and signaled for a left-hand turn. I stopped. IN the rear-view mirror, I saw a very large grain truck approaching, it became larger and I blurted. “that son of a bitch isn’t going to stop.” After being pushed through the intersection and seeing my back window over my back, I stopped again and left the car, a brand-new Malibu. The damage was severe. I called 911 and waited for the police. The truck driver and I completed a statement. The other guy said that he didn’t see me in time to stop because all he saw was the green light. He was not charged?

My hospital visit didn’t reveal much damage to my neck, but I have suffered often.


100 MPH

In the mid-eighties an uncle owned an acreage in Washington State. It was a few miles out of Republic and about a hundred miles south of the British Columbia Canadian border.

The road leading to his place off the highway displayed a sign that said Primitive road. A creek ran off the foothills past his property called Herron Creek. I soon found out that the correct pronunciation was “Hern Crik.”

Anyway, I usually visited him every year and at this particular time, I went alone. Often, Anne would come with me and we would make it a vacation.

The visit was over and I had to go back to work on Monday, but thought I would like a day at home before I went back, so I left on Friday. The time was about three in the afternoon when I headed out.

The trip usually took about sixteen hours to get to Leduc, if you could last that long.

By the time I passed Cranbrook, it was dark and close to midnight. The section that I had to pass through was called the Kootenays.

I was driving a 3//4 ton GMC truck Camper special with a 454 motor. No lack of horsepower! With that in mind and the distinct lack of traffic I commenced increasing my speed to make up time. When the speedometer reached 100 MPH, I kept it at that until I reached Windemere some hundred and twenty miles from Cranbrook.

When I look back at that, I am thankful that there were no wild animals on the road that night!



Circa 1946

I used to roam the railroad that Canadian Pacific owned. It was the main line through Saskatchewan.

In my travels, I found leftover flares that the railroad workers left after the repair work was affected. They were anywhere from three to eight inches long. They glowed like fireworks in the dark, in the winter they were spectacular.

On one occasion, I took one to friend’s home down the block and we proceeded to light it in his back yard. The covering was somewhat dilapidated and the flame virtually exploded.

I was holding it and when a spark lit on my left wrist and burned a hole in my skin, I stumbled backwards and fell.

The sore wrist was soon forgotten. When I dropped, I held out my right hand to soften the fall but ended up with a spike through my hand. There were a few boards probably left over from house repairs.

Removing the nail there from my hand still makes it hurt today.



I believe there is a reason for everything.

One evening about 8:00 P.M., at home in mid-2018 I experienced some confusion, had a bit of difficulty speaking and did not feel well.

I related this to my spouse and told her I wished to go to the Emergency at the local hospital. This is a small city so it didn’t take very long.

After signing in Emergency, I was scanned from head to toe. A few minutes later, the on-call Doctor came to the examination room and advised that I was not having a stroke and that my brain was in good condition. At that point, I looked at my wife and we both smiled. WE found the statement humorous.

However, he said, there appears to be something else that may have produced the state I experienced at home. Make an appointment with you family Doctor and he will give you the information and advise what to do about it.”

At the next appointments with my family Doctor, he advised that I had an aneurysm right next to my left kidney. Now this was a bit more than I wished to hear, it was a little more than 5 centimetres and like a balloon protruding from a portion of the Aorta artery.

My Doctor referred me to a Vascular Surgeon and I made the first visit with her. She offered the following resolutions, major surgery by opening the front of my body from the throat down to the groin, or. determining whether a stent would work, that she didn’t think that was possible. Thirdly, she said that I could just leave it and invariably it would burst and I would die. She predicted that I would not experience falling to the ground.

Later that year I went back to see if there was something that I could do so that I wouldn’t have to walk around with this guillotine. That was six months after I had learned I had the “Devil.” Not to belabor the issue, it was another six months later that the surgeon was able to order stents at the size that would cure my problem.

In June 2019, I attended the Grey Nuns hospital for this procedure. It was to be a small incision near my groin and I would probably go back home the next day.

The attempt to insert one stent to block the leakage into the aneurysm reduced the blood supply to my kidneys and they started to fail.

Two additional stents were then installed and my kidneys started to work. They are now operating, according to blood tests at a bit better than 50%. I am fine, feel well and look forward to enjoying the rest of my life.


In closing I offer the following, I have had accidents and incidences such as a broken rib but, I don’t think they have been that important.


There were a number of times, (I didn’t count), that I drove under the influence of alcohol.

-like driving for twenty-five miles back to my office late one winter afternoon with no memory of the trip. The next thing I remembered, puking in the toilet in my office.

Obviously, I have dodged a lot of bullets or led a charmed life.


I have been dead twice, once with Cardiac arrest in 1984, and from kidney failure in two thousand nineteen. In Edmonton.

I did not invite either incident


My intention is to continue a record of injury I may experience

I don’t intend to report my death. 

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