The children knew they were not supposed to be
sitting at the back edge of the little pick up truck, but they were all
close in age and what one would do the others would follow right along.
These would beg to sit in the back of the truck and be allowed to if they
would remain up to the front towards the cab. If the kids had been quietly
sitting without making any quick moves probably, everything would have
gone well. This was not to be.
The girl could feel the little truck
picking up speed as they were traveling down a small incline before they
would cross the creek on the way to their home. The excitement of getting
back to the house was upon them and they were not thinking about the
The two boys were wrestling, even though
they were perched right at the edge of the truck. When they were quietly
pulling and tugging at each other for position their sister knew there was
no stopping them. They were too intent with their own game and the moment
of winning whatever they were looking toward.
"Stop it, Stop it," she all but
begged her younger brothers with no notice given to her.
Like a movement as easy as slow motion she
saw the younger of the two brothers losing his balance and actually
falling away from the truck. He was a big boy and with his size and the
forward thrust of the truck there was almost no way to stop or break his
fall! Nevertheless, his sister grabbed his shirt with both hands and with
a standing up on the back bumper and a twisting motion somehow her effort
was accompanied not by wisdom, but just an action and a reaction. The
twisting of the boy as she flung him toward the right and back towards the
bed of the truck was assisted by some sort of physical happening maybe
having to do with centrifugal force. She could feel it happening and in an
instant the boy was back into the truck. However, as she released him
whatever that was to hold him to the truck, let her go and she could feel
herself falling. As she fell she was thinking it was going to be bad. The
truck was moving too fast for it not to be a serious thing.
There was no pain when she struck the
ground and she felt nothing. The only thing she was aware of was a tilting
of the earth like someone on a carnival ride. The ground was to tilt up to
one angle and then to the opposite side at another angle like pictures she
had seen of water off a boats deck.
She could see her mother running, crying
toward her. "What happened?
What happened?" she heard her scream.
The boys were trying to explain and then
there was nothing. As her father carried her into the bedroom she did
awake for a moment to look at the clock and remembered it was a quarter
after six. She could feel herself falling into a deep sleep. She was
seeing her Uncle running, through the meadow, trying to reach her before
she fell and she was whimpering to him," hurry, hurry."
When the girl awoke there was a serene
quiet scene she could hear in the kitchen. The family was there and it
sounded like they were finishing a meal. She could hear their quiet
conversation, but the softness of the bed was too comfortable for her to
rise away from it. All at once she could hear her Mother's voice coming
from the front yard. She was talking to someone who had driven up and she
was crying so softly like she had heard her cry before over the death of
an animal on the ranch or a pet kitten.
The voice speaking to her she recognized as
that of her Uncle, her mother's brother. The fact alone, that he was here,
was rare since he had his own family and worked swing shifts at the oil
refinery which kept him busy with his own world. The girl knew of whatever
they spoke it was serious. Theirs was a close family which had been raised
up in this very house after their father, and then later step father had
deserted them. They shared good times as well as hard times, and today a
tragic time equally from the habit of having to support each other
"There has been a terrible
accident," the man stated flatly. "Baby Ed was killed in a fall
from the car. They were returning from a trip to the health clinic at
Pawnee. He reached to open the door while the car was moving and was
jerked out by the whipping open of the door."
"When did it happen?" she heard
her mother ask.
"It hasn't been that long ago. It
happened at a quarter after six."
As the exact time was mentioned the girl
was at once alert and sitting up on the side of the bed. "Mama,"
"We had an accident too," the
girl's mother was explaining. "Our girl fell from the back of the
truck, and she is just now coming around."
She fell shortly before a quarter after