Life as a
child growing up in Texas...
Around age 10 my dad got me one of those little badass compound bow beginner
kits. Of course, the first month I went around our land sticking arrows in
anything that could get stuck by an arrow. Did you know that a 1955 40
horse Farmall tractor tire will take 6 rounds before it goes down?
That got boring, so being the 10 yr. old Dukes of Hazard fan that I was, I
quickly advanced to taking strips of cut up T-shirt doused in chainsaw gas tied
around the end and was sending flaming arrows all over the place.
One summer afternoon, I was shooting flaming arrows into a large rotten oak
stump in our backyard. I looked over under the carport and see a shiny
brand new can of starting fluid (Ether). The light bulb went off in my head...
I grabbed the can and set it on the stump. I thought that it would
probably just spray out in a disappointing manner. Lets face it, to a 10
yr old mouth-breather like myself, (Ether), really doesn't "sound" flammable.
So, I went back into the house and got a 1 pound can of pyrodex (black powder
for muzzle loader rifles).
At this point, I set the can of ether on the stump and opened up the can of
black powder. My intentions were to sprinkle a little bit around the
(Ether) can but it all sorta dumped out on me. No biggie, a 1 lb. pyrodex
and 16 oz (Ether) should make a loud pop, kinda like a firecracker you know?
You know what? Screw that I'm going back in the house for the other can.
Yes, I got a second can of pyrodex and dumped it too. Now we're cookin'.
I stepped back about 15 ft and lit the 2 stroke arrow. I drew the nock to
my cheek and took aim. As I released I heard a clunk as the arrow launched
from my bow. In a slow motion time frame, I turned to see my dad getting
out of the truck... OH S--T! He just got home from work. So
help me God it took 10 minutes for that arrow to go from my bow to the can.
My dad was walking towards me in slow motion with a WTF look in his eyes.
I turned back towards my target just in time to see the arrow pierce the
starting fluid can right at the bottom. Right through the main pile of
pyrodex and into the can. Oh S--t.
When the shock wave hit it knocked me off my feet. I don't know if it was
the actual compression wave that threw me back or just reflex jerk back from 235
fricking decibels of sound. I caught a half a millisecond glimpse of the
violence during the initial explosion and I will tell you there was dust, grass,
and bugs all hovering 1 ft above the ground as far as I could see. It was
like a little low to the ground layer of dust fog full of grasshoppers, spiders,
and a worm or two.
The daylight turned purple. Let me repeat this... THE FRICKING
DAYLIGHT TURNED PURPLE.
There was a big sweetgum tree out by the gate going into the pasture.
Notice I said "was". That son-of-a-b--ch got up and ran off..
So here I am, on the ground blown completely out of my shoes with my thundercats
T-Shirt shredded, my dad is on the other side of the carport having what I can
only assume is a Vietnam flashback: ECHO BRAVO CHARLIE YOU'RE BRINGIN' EM IN TOO
CLOSE!! CEASE FIRE. DAMN IT CEASE FIRE!!!!!
His hat has blown off and is 30 ft behind him in the driveway. All windows
on the north side of the house are blown out and there is a slow rolling
mushroom cloud about 2000 ft. over our backyard. There is a Honda 185 3
wheeler parked on the other side of the yard and the fenders are drooped down
and are now touching the tires.
I wish I knew what I said to my dad at this moment. I don't know - I know
I said something. I couldn't hear. I couldn't hear inside my own
head. I don't think he heard me either... not that it would really matter.
I don't remember much from this point on. I said something, felt a sharp
pain, and then woke up later. I felt a sharp pain, blacked out, woke
later....repeat this process for an hour or so and you get the idea. I
remember at one point my mom had to give me CPR. and Dad screaming "Bring him
back to life so I can kill him again". Thanks Mom.
One thing is for sure... I never had to mow around that stump again, Mom
had been bitching about that thing for years and dad never did anything about
it. I stepped up to the plate and handled business.
Dad sold his muzzle loader a week or so later. I still have some sort of
bone growth abnormality, either from the blast or the beating, or both.
I guess what I'm trying to say is, get your kids into archery. It's good
discipline and will teach them skills they can use later on in life.
March 15, 2011