What If. . .
Copyright 2020 by Lew Goddard
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.
following is what I remember and I might embellish the telling to
allow the reader to understand, and place his judgment on me.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
was covered with hay and dirt but otherwise not injured.
the farm where we lived, there was a vacant barn about two hundred
feet south of the house.
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.
dog’s name was christened “Prudence” by my Mother.
I shortened that silly name to “Prudie.” It sounded more
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.
1942, we moved to town and I started school.
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.
one, who lasted the longest, won the contest that morning.
you imagine? The danger of losing your eyesight should have happened
not long after the staring contests.
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.
years old and three dangerous incidents already
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.
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.
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
couple of years went by without mishap. At least, it was not enough
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.
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.
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
watched it crumble and collapse into the basement. We were satisfied
that we had enjoyed knocking it down.
with dust, we headed home.
to the dust on our clothes, our parents learned (somehow), what we
were all prohibited to going back there.
you think we stayed away?
arrived and because we didn’t have any assemblance of snow
removal in the streets, they just became packed down. That included
don’t recall how we got our hands on an old car hood, or at
least the most of it.
(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
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.
all had turns trying this out and with some difficulty some of us
managed to ride for about a block.
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.
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.
was a little uproar amongst our parents and our “sled”
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
my appendix was near bursting and some of the toxins had seeped into
occurred almost immediately and seven days later, I went home.
an extra three weeks from school. It was in June.
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
was only in the winter when there was lots of snow.
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.
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.
started to smoke when I was thirteen and quit when I was forty.
am so fortunate that my lungs are in pretty good shape.
about nine or ten I would go to the rink in winter and skate when it
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.
rink manager came out to me and helped me back on my skates. I
couldn’t put any weight on my left leg.
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.
parents arranged to get me to a Doctor and he said, looking me in the
eye, “No more skating for you this winter, son.”
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.
didn’t get hit with a puck. Can’t really remember why I
started to play baseball when I was thirteen. First as a Catcher and
then First Base.
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.
said it would get better but, it bothered me for quite a few years.
must say, I assume that my left testicle did the job it was designed
to do. I have two daughters
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.
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
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.
stitches later, I searched the bush and found a broken glass milk
bottle with a bit of blood on it.
my opponents Father operated the local dairy and the broken bottle
made it way mysteriously near the school.
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.
wrestled him onto the gravel and he had abrasions on one side of his
word was out in our small area that I was willing and able to work on
farmer called, he was in haying season and wished to get the hay
inside or stacked before the next rain.
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.
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.
one occasion, the horses didn’t stop soon enough to easily
hitch the belt.
this, hitching required me to place myself between the rack and the
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
metal met metal, I would have suffered the crunch much like my hat.
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.
don’t recall just how long our coaching lasted that summer. The
year was 1955.
we also transported the team with our cars to out of town games.
it was dark before we reached home.
one return trip, nearly dark and with no forward planning we decided
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
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.
my astonishment, the driver’s side of his car had been
sideswiped and it was a mess.
were in big trouble and our coaching careers were over.
helped with his deductible on his insurance. I did find that we
didn’t have the same relationship as before.
was transferred shortly after that.
a period of thirteen to eighteen, I worked for a farmer who lived in
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.
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.
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.
to make sure, I lifted part of the hood to see the gas cap underneath
and opened the tank.
was leaning over the tank about six inches above and I HAD A CIGARRTE
IN MY MOUTH!!!!
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.
is a bit out of order but I hope you will forgive me.)
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
was also my first time to be far enough from my parents that I
wouldn’t be going home on weekends.
thing let to another and one of my co-worker’s (Warren), and I
basically had a long nonstop party.
fact, the next summer we had a two week long party underway at the
lake that was a mere fifteen miles from town.
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.
that occasion, our boss called us into his office after the front
door was locked and he issued an ultimatum.
YOU TWO QUIT BURNING THE CANDLE AT BOTH ENDS, OR YOU ARE BOTH OUT OF
slowed down a bit.)
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.
rest of the crew stopped the fighting and we proceeded toward home.
I had to make a side trip to the emergency and have three stitches in
my lower lip.
girls took my car and went to the police, (There was only one RCMP in
town), waking the officer’s wife.
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.
was relieved that I received a transfer shortly after that to another
1958 I landed in another Saskatchewan town. This was located in the
central part of the province.
was not very long that I learned what entertainment could be
achieved. There were circumstances that prompted what I am going to
the early spring of 1959, I became involved in drag races. Wait until
I tell you where they took place.
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
tested it one day on the highway to see how fast it would go. It did
somehow with no advance planning a drag race took place.
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.
I established 130 MILES PER HOUR FOR THOSE TWO MILES.
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.
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.
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.
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.
an aside, this town will always be in my memory bank.
is where I met a slim young lady. She is still with me today. (2020)
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.
plain language, I had a boil in both nostrils. Also developed one on
my right hand.
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.
further change of location and I went under the care of a new Doctor.
survived this episode and have had no further problems.
arriving in Leduc in 1966 I experienced an incident that was scary.
was in the process of responding to some kind of complaint at a
rental home and in the winter, it is often about heating.
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
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.
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.
the end of a meeting regarding a Landfill, the farmer who was against
having “it in his backyard,” advised me.
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.”
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
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
hospital visit didn’t reveal much damage to my neck, but I have
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.
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.”
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
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.
trip usually took about sixteen hours to get to Leduc, if you could
last that long.
the time I passed Cranbrook, it was dark and close to midnight. The
section that I had to pass through was called the Kootenays.
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.
I look back at that, I am thankful that there were no wild animals on
the road that night!
HOLE IN HAND
used to roam the railroad that Canadian Pacific owned. It was the
main line through Saskatchewan.
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.
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.
was holding it and when a spark lit on my left wrist and burned a
hole in my skin, I stumbled backwards and fell.
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.
the nail there from my hand still makes it hurt today.
believe there is a reason for everything.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
attempt to insert one stent to block the leakage into the aneurysm
reduced the blood supply to my kidneys and they started to fail.
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
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
were a number of times, (I didn’t count), that I drove under
the influence of alcohol.
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.
I have dodged a lot of bullets or led a charmed life.
have been dead twice, once with Cardiac arrest in 1984, and from
kidney failure in two thousand nineteen. In Edmonton.
did not invite either incident
intention is to continue a record of injury I may experience
don’t intend to report my death.
of the message
won't know where to send it.)
Lew's story list and biography
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