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Hanging off the Tailgate

The chores around the dairy were a family job and as our family grew more and more kids went along and eventually helped. We had a 1949 Dodge pickup at the dairy that was used for running errands and around the dairy. I wish I had it now! It was either purple or maybe maroon, if that was a color then.

Some times Mom would be charged with the irrigation of our heifer pastures. I think she did that when dad was taking his daily nap because he got up early to milk. Is was out back so she would use the pickup. The things that happened at the dairy should have killed one of us but we all survived.

Mom had Tara and Mark in the front seat and loaded Kathy, Eddy, Sharon and me in the back. I could have only been about four at the time. We sat in the back of the truck bed with our feet dangling over the tailgate which was down all the way at an angle against the bumper. I was in the middle between Kathy and Sharon. There was a rope tied loosely across the back and we were told to hold onto the rope while we moving. Every thing was going well as we drove past the milk cows up to the pasture.
Mom got out and opened the barbed wire gate to make the rest of the drive in the pasture and off we went. It was always fun because we got to drink and play in the cool well water that was bubbling out of the big concrete valves that fed the checks. The water would be about a foot deep in some areas.


Once in the pasture the ride gets real bumpy. We were bouncing across the checks having a great time and I suddenly bounced off the bed. We were not moving very fast so the fall was not the bad part. I must have had my hands tight on the rope and instead of hitting the ground I came down with the rope across my neck. I was holding on for dear life. I couldn’t yell out my hands were pinned so I couldn’t let go so I was basically being drug. I’m not sure how long it took for Mom to stop, or if one of my siblings yelled out, but it was long enough for me to get a real bad rope burn across my neck. It hurt for a long time. It would have been a lot better if I had just fallen onto the soft grass.

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