It was a bright hot summer day.
I'll never forget it.
Bob had gotten a long boat oar from somewhere. He just came home with it and since most of Indiana is land-locked he had no where to play with his new toy.
What to do?
No water. No fun.
Since when would that stop him?
He could create his own fun.
He sets up a chair in the front lawn of the old farm house we lived in.
We lived in one of his parent's homes, an old farmhouse, way out in the country. No near neighbors. Very few cars passing on the dusty gravel road.
The chair is in the middle of the front yard.
He calls my sister and I out to the yard. Of course we obey. He is sitting there in the middle of the yard in a chair with a boat oar slicing through the air. Whoosh.
What evil will this day bring?
My sister and I look at each other with fear.
Bob tells us to circle the chair he sits in. He sits in his chair like an over sized Budda, sweating in the hot sunshine.
The birds are singing.
The sun is shining.
Norma goes first. As she passes, he whacks her on the butt. The smack echoes as the flat paddle of the oar hits it's mark.
Your butt stings and it's even worse when he misses his mark and the hard wood of the oar hits the back of your legs and it cracks against the bare delicate skin of the back of your upper thigh.
Around and around the chair. Each taking a turn.
This goes on and on. Surely he will tire soon.
Around and around the chair.
The wind has kicked up.
Bob raises his arms up over his head and around in an arc and swings.
The paddle has a 6 foot handle. Not much control in the wind.
As he lifts his arms to swing the oar, the wind catches it just wrong, lifts it up and
It hits her in the back of the head!
I will never forget the sound of that crack as wood meets skull. She stands upright and sways for a split second then falls to the ground in a heap.
I run to her. "Norma! Norma, wake up!"
She is out cold. Is she DEAD????
The look on Bob's face shows his fear. Not fear for Norma but fear for himself. He must know the authorities will have questions.
"Make her wake up!" he screams at me.
"Norma! Please wake up. Please! Wake up!"
She is breathing but there is a bloody gash on the middle of the back of her head. Her hair matted with blood. So much blood.
Still out cold. It takes her what seems like hours but she comes to. Groggy. Pale.
We didn't know it at the time, but now, because of this and the boat oar, my sister is as deaf as a rock.
My sister is two years older than me but within the next two years, she has failed two grades and we are in the same class in school.
No one cared enough to take her to a doctor. The nerves were damaged and her hearing is gone.
I'd like to tell Bob where he can stick his fcking boat oar.....