Thank ye, Nathaniel. I chuckle for I know you, brother, ye seek to show me a fool, but ye are as much a one as I.
We were both anxious about the rumors of piracy and the accusations made against our own ships being used for such crimes. Yeah, it seemed even God was angry with us for the weather was wet and the footing slick. I’m sure our anxiety transferred to the oxen, making them all the more nervous.
|Beach along Narragansett Bay|
Now Nathaniel knows a thing or two about cattle, but sailors don’t. The tide was coming in and the waves rolled under the barge causing it to rock.
I heard the bawl of an oxen and the shout of a man and looked up to see a sailor slip down behind an animal that balked at the movement of the barge. His actions spooked the ones next in line. One reared up and spun around, his front legs landing on the head of one behind him.
At that moment the oxen in front of me backed up. “Whoa,” I yelled, but feeling me falter, the ox rushed back.
I waved my cane to no avail. My foot slipped, and I landed on my back, mud and sand splashing all around me.
The bullock, now free of the narrow aisle, turned and leapt over me.
I heard a crack like the breaking of wood and pulled myself into a ball. The air moved over me while another ox sailed above me. Hooves drummed around me and mud, rocks, and sand slid to and away from me like grapes under the feet of a crusher.
When the last oxen flew over me, I jumped to my feet. I had no thought for myself but that the frightened beasts would push the weak gate at the end of the pen and get away.
I began to work my way around the herd when I heard men roaring in laughter. I looked up and there was Nathaniel and two sailors holding their jiggling bellies.
Nathaniel waved his hand at me and said, “We thought you were a dead man.” He jumped over the fence and jogged to my side. “Always knew you were tougher than you looked.”
Aye, ‘tis true, Davis. Few would have known your noble background when you were covered from head to toe in mud and manure.
Me? I should remind you of the time…
Save it for another day, brother. These gentle people need to be one their way. Good day to you all and Godspeed.
Aye, Godspeed to you all.
A Word from Lynn Squire
Perhaps you find the story hard to believe, but it comes from personal experience. I’ve been trampled at least four times in my life from what I remember. One, very similar to Davis’s experience. We were loading calves onto a truck to take to market and something spooked the ones at the front of the shoot. They turned, knocked me down and jumped over me. Worried about lost time and the blame being put on me, I jumped to my feet and began chasing them back up the shoot. Then I heard my dad and sister laughing. They thought for sure I’d have been hurt.
Another time we were bringing in the horses, about sixty head. It was winter, and the ground was frozen, and I was bundled up so tight I could barely move. While closing the gate on the last horse, I stumbled and fell. Something had spooked the herd, and I had a good fifteen head leap over me in a rush to get out of the catch pen. Then too I jumped to my feet, knowing my clumsiness just cost a lot of time.
Why did I not get hurt in either situation? Because horses and cows would rather leap over a danger than run on top of it.
However, the third time I was not so lucky. I was leading a three year old thoroughbred filly when an electric fence sparked. She spooked, knocked me over and used me for a launching pad. I ended up with several broken ribs and a punctured lung. Had that happened to Davis Owen, he would not have lived to tell the story. I did, and we all have a good chuckle for there are so many stories to go along with that punctured lung (just a hint, I was no more than three weeks a newlywed).