Our Lake Clear house was built in the late 1880s, by the family of a neighbor of ours, Marie Mussen. She’d sold us the house. Initially, and this was in the mid-sixties, she lived in one end of the house, while we had the rest of it. It was a pretty huge house, even for the six of us (my family). Three stories and a large cellar. The third story was the attic, where all kinds of neat stuff remained from Marie’s past (and I spent a lot of time). The house also had a wrap-around porch on three sides and a rear “mud room” back porch that extended the length of the rear of the house. So, not really a room, per se, but more of a totally enclosed “back porch” with a concrete floor. We had all kinds of stuff there, like an extra refrigerator that we stocked with Rich Plan frozen food. Man, I loved those pot pies! There was also a small tool shed off to one end that had all kinds of neat tools, like from the 1800s/1900s! It was dark and creepy, but I loved that shop. The main back porch door led directly out the back from the back door of the main house. My dad parked his Forest Ranger truck there, underneath the crab apple tree. There was also a burn barrel there, where I smoked up my eyes real bad one day.
At the opposite end of this back area, opposite from the creepy tool shop (i.e., to the left as you exit the first door into the back), was another door. It was missing a handle, but because of either or both of the house settling or the wood swelling, the door stuck really hard into the door jamb. If you needed to use it, you had to smack it open pretty hard. It was a heavy door with one of those large panes of heavy 1880s (I suspect) panes of glass in it, placed in the top two-thirds of the door. The framing around the window was a beveled design.
One day I was going out that door. I forcefully thrust out with my right to smack the door on that narrow strip of wood adjacent to the beveled frame…and my hand slipped.
A loud crash.
Next thing I know…everything…went into slow motion.
And as I looked to my right hand, outstretched before me…I watched a thick chuck of glass…probably the size of my pinky’s fingernail…slowly arc through the air…and land on on the back of my right hand…just above the wrist and to the left of the main veins…then bounce right back off into the air again, never to be seen again.
I watched as all manner of glass shards flew everywhere…a cloud of razor-sharp mini-knives filling the air before me.
Then it was all over.
I looked to my hand. Yeah, it was bleeding, but nothing to worry about. I raised that hand up to my forehead and brought it away—
Huh, thought I, better get this looked at, but otherwise I felt okay. Had all my limbs, my eyesight, my personality.
So I go into the house and enter my dad’s home office. He was doing some Forest Rangery paperwork that morning, in his Ranger uniform. He’s all busy at his desk, intently focused on something when I waltz into his office and announce:
“Dad—I think I had…an accident.”
He looks up at me, his face still in that focused-concentration look…when his eyes flare open wider than I’ve ever seen them before or since, and he launches himself out from around that desk and toward me in the blink of an eye.
Never seen him move so danged fast.
Apparently I was bleeding pretty profusely from the head.
Head wounds don’t you know. Big bleeders.
Turns out I looked far worse off than I really was. Besides the gouge on the back of my right hand, I had a cut just above my right eye, actually in the eyebrow. So, that baby was cryin’ blood all over the place. Otherwise I was fine. But I’ll always remember how freaking quickly my dad bolted from around that desk to get to me, and the size of his eyes when he first spotted me!
Yeah, I seem to have that effect on people.
As to that gouge on my hand, the scar is still visible after all these years, just to the left of the main veins on the back of my hand.
It’s a nice little reminder about the power of glass—and quick reacting fathers.