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ANN BAILEY COLUMN: Hitting the wall

I've never been much of a machine person, preferring a real horsepower to the revved-up kind that is accompanied by the noise of an engine. I did, though, enjoy snowmobiling for the short time we owned a snowcat during my youth. At age 10 I was t...

I've never been much of a machine person, preferring a real horsepower to the revved-up kind that is accompanied by the noise of an engine.

I did, though, enjoy snowmobiling for the short time we owned a snowcat during my youth. At age 10 I was too young to drive but I got to ride on our John Deere model with my dad or brother.

I enjoyed getting out into the open prairie and observing the wildlife. And although I've never been a speed demon, I enjoyed the feeling of freedom I got when we flew along with snow spraying in my face.

Of course, "flew" was a relative term. My brother was a safe driver and never opened opened up the machine full throttle when I was on it. Even if he had, top speed would have only been a fraction of that of today's snowmobiles.

The only trouble we ever ran into while on the back of the snowmobile was running into snow that was too deep to go through and getting stuck or when the machine would tip.

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In both instances we had to get off and remedy the situation by pulling with all of our might or heaving it back upright.

Big bumpIn fact, the only mishap I ever had with a snowmobile was when I wasn't on it. That occurred the day when my head met with the corner of a house and I had to have several stitches.

The accident occurred after my brother and I had an uneventful ride on the snowmobile to our neighbor's house. When we got there, we decided to give rides behind the snowmobile by attaching a saucer to the sled by a long rope.

There were no problems with that mode of travel while we were out in the field across the road. I thought it was fun when the saucer swung wildly from side to side. That is, until we crossed the road into the yard near our neighbor's house.

My memories after that are a little fuzzy. The last thing I recall was that the house was on my left side and the neighbor's dog was standing near it. Then everything went black.

Foggy memoriesThe next thing I can remember is laying in the bushes next to the corner of the house with a big pain in the back of my head and a sticky feeling in my hair.

My brother and our neighbor friends pulled me up and guided me into the house. I sat there while my friends' mom called my mom and the local clinic.

I don't remember the 14-mile ride to the clinic, but I do remember the doctor stitching up my head. It didn't hurt nearly as much then as it did a week later when he unsympathetically yanked them out.

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Though his bedside manner was lacking, he must have done a good job stitching the wound because the only people who ever notice it are my hair stylists. There's a little bald spot where the wound was that is covered by hair until parted during cuts.

Trade-inIt wasn't many winters after my accident that my dad traded in the snowmobile for a riding lawn mower. By then I was old enough to operate a motorized vehicle and I got plenty of driving time on it - still am riding one today.

But that's a story for another time.

Ann Bailey is Recollections editor. Reach her by phone at (701) 787-6753, (800) 477-6572, ext. 753 or e-mail her at abailey@gfherald.com

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