Memories of events on the prairie


It was a cool fall day on the prairie... the kind of day when chipmunks realize they need to store food for the upcoming winter. 

My friend David Gauche had come to our farm from his home in town. He always liked to harass squirrels, mice, chipmunks and other varmints. 

On this day David convinced me to join him. Usually I had work to do and he would scamper around the woods alone. 

When you lived on a farm in the 50’s and 60’s there was no trash pickup. Occasionally we dumped our discards on a pile near a swamp. This was the location we chose to find chipmunks. Next to this refuse pile was a big hollow tree with lots of high branches, a perfect home for small critters. 

David picked an old broom handle and my weapon of choice was a heavy six inch paint brush with about a quart of dried paint in its bristles. 

David rustled our first contestant from the trash pile. It was planning to go up the tree to find safety. I pulled the paint brush back and slung it toward the tree with all the strength my adrenaline filled arm could muster. The height of my throw was perfect, the horizontal aim, not so good. David unfortunately was on the opposite side of the tree. The end over end travel of my weapon resembled a hatchet thrown by Daniel Boone. Unfortunately it missed the tree and caught David in the middle of his forehead. He hit the ground with a thud. I thought I had killed him. Blood was gushing from his wound as I ran over to help him. His eyes opened and he asked, “what happened?” I told him that the chipmunk had survived.

 I wrapped my shirt around his head and assisted him to his feet.  I helped him stagger the quarter mile to my home. My mother helped clean him up. By this time he had a large goose egg emerging. His mother came by to take him home. She gave me a look that normally is reserved for people like Ted Bundy. 

I called him later that night to check on him. He said he was ok but had a slight headache and his recollection of the event was a little fuzzy. 

Thank God!  My good friend would live to hunt another day!