As I write this, my head is healing. I’ll bet there are at least a dozen other people in Huerfano County who can say the same thing at this very moment. If we all shaved our heads we could compare scars. (Or at least scare each other half out of our wits.) Yes, a knot on the head is one injury that most of us will suffer while living here. I don’t mean from your spouse whacking you with a cast iron skillet, although there might be a few of those out there also. I mean from running into something with your head. Heads are particularly vulnerable appendages. They’re big, and they’re heavy, and they’re exposed. Unless you walk around wearing a helmet, your head is out there, just waiting to get hurt. It’s not because we’re lacking in intelligence. Honest. It’s because we walk around watching the ground. Hey, this is Huerfano. If you don’t pay very close attention to where you’re walking, you’re gonna trip on something, or fall into a hole, or tramp in something really yukky, or walk through an ant hill, or step on a rake and end up smacking yourself in the forehead with the handle. We know this from experience. In spite of our best efforts, it’s a forgone conclusion that we will hurt our heads anyway, whether we look up or look down. Unfortunately, by looking down, sure enough you will not see that open cabinet door. Or that big honking tree limb. And you’re definitely not going to notice that only the bottom half of the barn door is open. Those half-doors are awfully sneaky. Who was the genius that invented those things anyway? Did we really need something on the farm that is uniquely structured to increase the odds of you hurting yourself? My opinion is that half-doors should be restricted for use only by people under 50. Because if you’re over 50, it is entirely possible that you will open the bottom half of the door your very own self and then just plumb forget you left the top half closed. And then you’ll turn around and WHAM. You’ll be seeing the Orion constellation – in the daytime. And you know what’s the worst part? If you did it your very own self, then you can’t yell at anyone but your own dumb self – after you regain consciousness. Standing up into something also presents a problem. We’ve all done it. You bend down to pick up some unimportant little thing your dog has dragged outside, like the cat’s litter box or maybe one of your dress shoes that has been chewed into looking like a piece of roadkill. Then you stand up and WHAM. The Orion constellation again. WHO HIT ME?? You look, and there is a rather stout tree limb. Where in the heck did that come from?! In the past 12 hours someone has planted a new, full grown tree in your yard. You swear it wasn’t there yesterday. Heck, it wasn’t there five minutes ago. And oh man, hitting your head hurts SO BAD. It doesn’t stop hurting for like two days either. And bleed? Nothing but a stuck peccary bleeds worse than a head wound. It’s a scientifically proven fact that getting whacked on the head, including by a cast iron skillet, causes brain cells to rot away. After 50, that becomes a problem we would prefer to avoid. We don’t have many to spare, and we so desperately need what we have left. So tell your kids you want a helmet for Christmas. They may laugh at you, but if you live here, your sanity is already in question. We need to preserve all the brain cells we can.
Part 3 of Benton Canon’s harrowing tale of surviving against all odds by