Tag Archives: Life and death

Saving a Life With a Dirty Rag

 Today, I post a family story about my daddy — my first hero.

Daddy was always a manager. Maybe his 6’4” height caused people to automatically look up to him. Maybe his calm demeanor did the trick. I’m not sure, but I know he always became the manager of whatever he did. When we lived in Odessa, Daddy managed the railway express office. After moving to Barstow, he managed a local cotton gin. When my mother died, Daddy went to Oklahoma to manage a crop dusting crew. In my teen years, he managed the Low Farm, a show place farm in Coyanosa, Texas — the last virgin territory in the US with the exception of Alaska. This story focuses on a tragic experience at the cotton gin in Barstow, Texas.

On a hot summer afternoon, a primal shriek resounded throughout the cotton gin followed by screeching machinery being demanded to shut down in mid-process. Daddy ran from his manager’s office at the gin to the loading zone in time to see a worker fall to the floor clutching a bloody stump that ended just above his elbow. Daddy knew immediately that the machinery, designed to separate raw cotton from its stems, leaves and seeds had chewed the worker’s arm through the bone and ground it into the emerging fluff. Continue reading