Thanks, Pa

I was talking with Pa on Skype today, and we got to “reminiscing” about how he used to keep the thermostat at 65 degrees.

“But we kept the coal fire burning!”

This coal furnace was fueled on the suffering of his children. I’m about 65% convinced that Dad bred us to haul coal for him. I won’t go into the general horrors of depending on hand-fetched fossil fuels for warmth, because I have one specific thing I wanted to talk about.

When I was 17 — AFTER I had moved away to college — I came home for Thanksgiving. Eldest had already moved away, so Dad took this valuable opportunity to have two warm bodies help him haul coal. As I recall, I had just recently gotten off of crutches after my second knee surgery.

Northwood and I knew from experience that loading and unloading goes faster if you take the largest chunks of coal available, so the two of us grabbed onto a pretty hefty chunk, lifted it up, over the edge of the truckbed, and then my right handhold crumbled away (damn you, crappy lignite!). My left glove got caught on the edge of the coal, and it was way too heavy to hold up one-handed. Northwood’s end started to rise as the weight shifted, resulting in a large chunk of coal landing in a point on the first knuckle of my left middle finger.

Of course, I screamed and swore, my vision started going all dark and tunnelly, I grabbed my hand and ripped the glove off. I bled like crazy, and I could see the whiteness of tendons and bone. Dad gave me tape and toilet paper.

My finger eventually healed crookedly. Scar tissue took the shortcut over the fold in the knuckle, meaning that my finger couldn’t straighten without ripping the skin. Twelve years later, it no longer bleeds when I straighten, but sometimes the skin still cracks and breaks. See the scar as of today. I can feel strange knots on the tendon.

Dad’s recollection of this event?

“I remember a lot of whining. I sure was glad it fell on your hand instead of my truck!”

Thanks, Pa.

Posted by snaotheus


I didn’t realize he didn’t even send you to the doc. I will happily kick his ass from here to the South Pole for you if you like. Your wish is my command. 🙂

Wow, 65 degrees. That explains a lot. Maybe why I hate it when my feet are so cold. I remember many a winter saturday morning staying under the covers just to keep warm until a fire was going.

I remember that day also, If I remember correctly it was our record 1.1 or 1.2 tons of coal in something like 20 or 25 minutes. Freaking crazy. Oh yeah, and you hurt your finger.

I think dad had a similar saying about my nose when I whined about that. Now, after a doctor has said that I could use a drilling he says “oh”. He’s not as bad as snaotheus is making him out to be though.

Hey, how did you get the pi symbol to come up in the URL address bar? That’s pretty cool

Yeah, I wrote this to vilify Pa, which isn’t exactly fair. But I think as a general rule, Dad would rather have his children suffer painful but ultimately inconsequential harm than have his truck damaged. 🙂

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