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Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Scars (The Physical Kind)

I was speaking with a dear friend this morning about some events in my childhood which had left physical scars and how those fade with time.  They do have that over emotional scars which can hide deep within and spring out at the most inopportune times.

The physical scar I will write about today is one which is on the outside of the "pointer" finger of my right hand.  It is now about one half inch long, just at the knuckle where the finger joins the hand.  I call it my "elephant eye".  If I tuck my thumb in my palm and make a fist, the pointer finger is the elephant's trunk and the scar is just where the eye would be.

The tale of how I got it is one of youthful stupidity.  I don't recall how I came to be playing with a long, narrow pole that day.  It probably was a bean pole from the garden.  It was long and slender and I was using it to poke things in the tiny creek which ran beside the road in front of  the house we rented then.

I had wandered down the road to the little, concrete bridge which spanned the creek between the road and Nola Huff's house.  Now, let me tell you this little creek was dirty.  More than one sewer line dumped into it with zero treatment.  It had to be germ heaven.  It was definitely not like the creeks around my grandparent's house.

That day I was standing on the bridge and spotted a broken pop bottle (Hey, it was pop when I was growing up.  Soda mostly now.)  I don't recall for sure what brand but an RC I would imagine as we had an RC plant in the county seat so we did not see many Pepsi products and the only place to get a Coke was at a restaurant.

The neck of the bottle was pointed up the creek away from me.  I poked my pole through the broken back and up through the neck and raised it up out of the water.  Then I raised the pole to a vertical position and, naturally enough, gravity took control and that broken end slid down that pole at high speed and gashed a long wound in my hand.

The gash was bleeding profusely and I was quite embarrassed to have done something so stupid and feared the reaction of my parents more than germs.  So, I packed the wound with dirt to stop the bleeding.  I kept repacking it with new dirt until it bled no more.

I suppose that is why it left such a prominent scar.  Had I been able to see a doctor I'm sure it would have needed several stitches to close but a doctor was rarely an option in our family at the time.

That would have been sometime around 1965 so about fifty one years ago now.  The old elephant is going  blind as that scar fades but I'm sure there will still be a visible remnant of my, shall we say, inattention to detail (like the effect of gravity on broken bottles) until they shovel dirt into my face.