von Holdt

von Holdt

Pocket knife lesson

This story begins when I was age 5, and my brother was age 7. It occurred in a field, somewhere near a place in Minnesota called Wilder Valley. It is a true story about early lessons of life.

My Uncle Fay had just purchased 2 shiny new Case pocket knives, and gave 1 to my brother and 1 to me while he was on a break from baling hay. Being 2 young adventurous boys with shiny new pocket knives, we set out on our way through the hay field. While slicing at a grasshopper, or trying to attack a buttonweed, my brother inadvertently stabbed me in the hand.

The blade went in fairly deep, about half an inch. On a 5 year old boys’ hand, that is pretty deep. Not only that, but it struck an artery so that each time my heart took a beat, I was squirting blood for what seemed like yards, to a 5 year old kid.

I reacted the way any normal 5 year old kid would react. I started bawling, and screaming. I was scared. Since my Uncle Fay was driving a tractor, I ran to the nearest adult I could find. That adult happened to be my Uncle Ross.

Uncle Ross had been in Viet Nam. I was told that he was a “tunnel rat”, a soldier who flushed the Viet Cong out of their tunnels. I was also told that this was a very undesirable job, and that not very many “tunnel rats” survived their tours.

In any case, there I was, running to Uncle Ross with blood spurting from my hand, bawling my lungs out, and crying tears the size of rivers. Uncle Ross didn’t look twice when I reached him. He saw the blood, and I saw him reach for the bandana in his back pocket. I saw the look in his eyes when he saw the blood, and how it utterly changed when he turned his eyes to mine, those of a frightened 5 yr old boy. Uncle Ross promptly stomped on my right foot. He leaned down close to my face and he said, “Does your hand hurt?”.

I looked deep into his eyes as I said, “No, Sir”. And at that moment in time, at 5 years old, I realized that it can always get worse, very quickly.

I stopped crying and bawling, Uncle Ross wrapped my hand with his bandana, and we went on with the day. I actually have a small scar on my hand to commemorate this event. Maybe that is why I recall it like it was yesterday, 41 years later.

January 4, 2013 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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