Saturday, October 2, 2010

That Scar of Mine - A Little Girl's Hand Injury Many Years Ago

Lacking accurate photos, this is the closest thing to the injury in question.

Dairy farm at Mullumbimby
Many years ago, way back in 1952, my family lived in Greenville, South Carolina, in a rented house on a dairy farm. There was a large barn behind the house where we lived, and just a few yards off the the left side was a pile of trash, where we were to pile things such as cans, bottles, and the like. Every now and then, this pile would be taken and hauled to the dump by men who worked for the owner of the dairy. This is unacceptable now, but back then, people who lived in rural areas often had such a place to collect their rubbish, until they either buried it, or could haul it off to a dumpsite provided by the city or county.

This particular afternoon, I was happily playing with my cat, Tommy, when Mom told me to take out the trash. Like the good little girl I went to do as my mother instructed. As usual, Tommy ran along with me, which was more like a dog than a cat, but that was just Tommy. I don't think he ever forgot that I had save his life when some boys tried to drown him in a kiddy pool full of water in Albany, Georgia where we lived before moving to Greenville.

Anyhow, I was taking out the trash, running long with Tommy at my heels. As I approached the trash pile, I slowed down, and looked for a safe place to walk to put the trash, more toward the higher portion of the pile, so the pile stayed all together, instead of spreading and making a wider area. That's just the way I thought. Even trash needed to be somewhat organized, not spread out all over the place. I carefully, walked on top of a few things that appeared to provide good footing, when suddenly, I found myself falling forward, headlong onto the trash that was spread before me. I quickly dropped the bag of trash I was carrying, and put both arms outstretched in front of myself to break my fall.

Suddenly, I felt a sharp pain in the heel of my right hand. When I was able to get to my feet, I saw that blood was gushing from a rather large open wound in my hand. Some gray stuff was also oozing out.

I was always curious about practically everything, so instead of running and screaming into the house for Mama to fix my hand right away, I first examined the cut, trying to figure out what that gray stuff was. At first I thought maybe it could be part of a muscle that had gotten cut, or maybe part of some of the junk in the trash. Then, I realized it could be neither, as the more I squeezed it, the more gray soft gooey stuff came out. "It must be some kind of fat that was in my hand. Yes, that had to be what it was." I thought to myself.

Once I was satisfied that it wasn't something dirty that was actually part of the trash, I went inside and told Mama what had happened. Tommy was still on my heels, and happily following along, into the kitchen.

Mom washed the hand with some very warn water and homemade lye soap, which she made every now and then, and wrapped the injured hand, telling me to be sure to keep that really clean, so I didn't get it infected. The cut was really large enough to have needed stitches, but people just didn't go running to a doctor over every little thing like the do nowadays.

The nasty cut eventually healed, but that scar is still visible on the heel of my hand, some fifty-six years later. I still vividly remember the entire incident, too. One more little memory that added character and a personal touch to who and what I am.

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