Tuesday, January 18, 2011

JACK'S CLOSE CALL

(This is a true recitation taken from his written account of what happened to him as of 3/25/07)

Jack, wife Beneitta and other family members were involved in a cattle ranching operation along theYakima River about halfway between Ellensburg and Yakima.
The time of year had come to begin gathering the cows from the winter range and drive them home. There they would have their new calves and about two months to enjoy eating hay.

Jack's part in the day's activities was to take a pickup truck with a little hay and drive around the area sounding the horn to let the cattle know some food was waiting for them. Later in the day the riders would come along and easily gather the herd to move them to the new destination. Jack carried out the plan but decided to check one location near an old watering trough.

Noticing one lone Hereford next to the road, Jack stopped the pickup to leave off a bunch of hay to keep it busy until the other riders arrived. In his haste he left the motor running but failed to set the brake, leaving the door open. Turning to return to the driver's seat, he realized the vehicle was coasting ahead.

Jack raced to try to get back in the cab, jumping on the running board to try to steer the pickup. Instead the pickup turned to the left and careened down hill through a tall sagebrush and ryegrass area. The sagebrush ripped him from the side of the pickup, plunging him headfirst and breaking his glasses. The crushing weight of his feet and legs slamming into the brush ahead left him scarcely able to breathe. Everything seemed to be going black.

Gasping for breath and trying to maintain some sense of composure, Jack fought off the desire to go to sleep. Planning his next move, he finally got his legs freed and got to his knees by pulling on a tall sagebrush. Slowly he hauled himself erect and gradually climbed back up to the road. There he began to look around to see if there was anyone who could help him.

All of the houses looked empty as by then everyone had gone to work. He trudged several hundred feet until he reached a metal gate that was locked. Seeing no way around it, he decided to crawl between the chain, a space of about three feet. The barbed wire grabbed his jacket as he struggled to get past the sharp barbs. After freeing himself, he finally reached the other side of the gate. By then everything was whirling around in his head. After grasping the gate post, his vision began to clear.

As Jack continued upward, two barking dogs started to charge. He stood still and then heard a man's voice yell at the dogs. He was more relieved when the fellow
came into view on the ridge above.

"Perry," Jack called urgently, "I've been injured and need help."

"I'll be right down as soon as I get my pickup," he responded.

As soon as he got there, he learned what had happened. Jack needed to reach his ranch some five miles towards Ellensburg to get someone there to take him to the doctor. As Perry started to drive slowly to reach the highway, he noted the ranch pickup with the engine still running and stopped to turn the motor off. Jack warned him to take it easy lest it bring on a heart attack with two of them needing attention.

When Jack reached the house he found that his two sons, Bob and Ken, hadn't left yet to gather the cows. Ken's wife, Linda, was just ready to leave for town. So Jack arrived at the Emergency Room. The doctor's finding was that Jack had a punctured left lung and seven broken ribs, some of them were not attached at either end. When taking a deep breath normally the chest and back push out, but instead "floaters" would draw in. This being a condition not seen too often, Jack was asked if it would be all right for a few nurses and doctors to view his back. Jack should have charged admission.

While all of this was taking place, where was his wife, Beneitta? She had left home early to meet with a ladies group in their church for Bible study and prayer. She would do a few errands around town for Jack and return home. None of the family members were able to contact her. When she arrived home, she discovered Jack's coveralls, hat and boots. Something was wrong.

Just then daughter-in-law Peggy called with information of what had happened. Immediately Beneitta was on her way back to town - destination hospital. It was amazing at all of the Prayer Chains that went into action on his behalf. Get well cards, phone calls, poems, and visitors they were forced to limit because of the risk of flu or pneumonia. It was a long and painful experience. Yet God's hand was present through it all. Jack summed it all up with these words: "There is no doubt in my mind that God's providence controlled this day."