Growing up a wild youngin’ in the hills of West Virginia, I was no stranger to getting war wounds. My granny used to call them that, although most of you all would call them cuts, scrapes or bruises. Some of these left permanent scars, which still remind me of the bygone days of my youth.
One of the scars is on the index finger of my right hand, this one came from an accident I had when I was around 4 years old. I remember we had just got back from Moorefield, where we had gotten groceries. Well it was about 9 O’clock at night and I wanted to try out a bag of English walnuts that we had just gotten. Mom and Dad told me it was past my bedtime and I had to wait until morning to get my some walnuts. Well, as soon as their backs were turned, I snuck (yes, I am aware that I said snuck) out to the kitchen and grabbed me a knife to crack me open a few English Walnuts. After all, I had watched mom and dad do it this way many times…how hard could it be. Well, I didn’t know that the time that you typically don’t use a butcher knife for cracking English walnuts, so I gave it a whirl. I actually cracked open one of them and was starting on the second one when the knife slipped and I cut my finger pretty bad. I set out to squalling and everyone came running. Mom immediately saw what I had been doing, and took a cold warsh rag and wiped the blood off my hand. She saw that it needed stitches, so she wrapped the cold rag around my hand and we all took off for the hospital in Elkins, which was 60 miles away and the location of the nearest doctor. Well, we got to Elkins around midnight, and they sewed me up, I remember having 3 stitches in my little finger. Everyone was about ready to kill me because of course, the trip to the hospital was a family affair so everyone was there with me, missing out on sleep, all because of my wanting an English walnut. Mom's diplomacy prevented them from straight-out murdering me by telling everyone she’d stop at the all-night donut store and buy everyone some donuts if they’d be good, so yet again, I lived to tell the tale. After that, I recall having my own personal nut cracker though. Even today, I have the reminder of that scar on my finger. Funny how a scar grows with the finger, it is still about an inch long.
Me and Jason, about the time of the walnut incident.
On the same hand, I have another scar. This one from a burn I received compliments of a wood stove and melted crayons. It seemed that me and Jason were the damnedest kids to want to create art by laying a piece of paper on the cage of the wood stove, and then drawing on the paper. The heat from the stove melted the crayons into the design of the stove cage, which was covered with little mesh holes. Well, one time the crayon I was using melted away to a nub and I dropped it on the stove top and it started smoking really bad, so I reached down to pick it off the stove. Well, I hit the top of my hand on the inside cast iron of the stove and burnt my hand. Luckily, Mom always kept prescription strength burn medication on hand because all of us kids were constantly burning our butt cheeks by getting too close to the stove when we tried to warm up on cold mornings, so my hand got good treatment. But I still have a 2 inch circular burn on the back of my hand.
Me and my brother, playing with our dog in the snow.
On the back of my right leg I have a bad scar from wrecking my bicycle when I was shot down while playing cowboys and Indians with the other kids. I was riding through the gauntlet, and the goldenrod arrow caught in my spokes just right and threw me over the handlebars of my bicycle. The bike landed on top of me and the chain guard cut my leg. This time, I refused to go to the doctor, and doctors it myself. Looking at the scar, I probably needed stitches. I remember at the time I had about a two inch size chunk of meat hanging off my leg. I don’t remember how I ever hid it from mom… my guess is a lot of band-aids!
Looking for more scars, I notice my index finger on my right hand (yes, right above the “walnut” scar). It is shaped a little funny. This one came from getting it smashed in my granddad’s tailgate. I remember, we were hauling firewood one summer evening, and we had just got done unloading the wood. The one hinge on the tailgate didn’t work right so you had to hold it in just so to get the tailgate to latch. Well I did this but should have oooh’d when I ahhh’d, and got my finger smashed. I remember I lost my fingernail over that one.
Then, on my forehead, you will notice a scar. This one came compliments of dear old mother. When I was 15 years old, my brother gave me chickenpox. Well, unbeknownst to mother, I was coming down with chickenpox but she just thought I had a pimple on my forehead. She told me to hold still and she squeezed it. Well, it wasn’t a pimple, it was my first chickpock, and it left a scar. It was amazing that somehow my brother and I managed to escape getting chickenpox all through our childhood years, just to be afflicted with them as teenagers. Oh well, it just so happened that my brother had got them right before I did, only it was during his Spanish Club trip to Mexico. They quarantined him in the hotel! At least I got to suffer at home with mine. Oh, and in case you are wondering, I had them all over my body but didn’t get too sick from them, as many people who get them later in life have experienced.
I could go on for hours about all my war wounds, some of which I display proudly, but all of which will bring back a memory of bygone days. So, what memories of a “war wound” do you have?