Lad has been kept quite busy repairing vehicles destroyed by the roads in Venezuela, but on a rare afternoon, he decides to take a walk. It became quite an adventure.
The day before I left New York, Aunt Elsie gave me a little diary for 1939. I have studiously entered in it something that has happened each day and under Thursday, April 19th, I entered “damn near killed by cow”. Here is the story:
After lunch, since I was tired of resting, reading, writing etc., I went for a walk. I headed out and had gone about 2 km when I saw three mules, over a slight rise ahead of me, running faster than I have ever seen mules go before and each was carrying a rider, two men and a small boy. The men were yelling and waving their machetes as though trying to attract my attention and the boy was crying.
Following them was a cow with her head down, apparently trying to catch them. Incidentally all the cows and bulls here have long sharp horns. Following the cow were two men attempting to catch the cow with lassos. As the cow came closer to me she altered her course and headed for me. I got a little frightened and looked for some means of escape.
The road was fenced with barbed wire on each side so I had two alternatives: to out run the cow or get over a fence, and the latter seems more probable. The left-hand fence looked newer and stronger so I headed for that. The cow continued to run towards me so over the fence I went. As I have described it, it sounds as though I took my time, but you should have seen it. That cow was coming fast. So fast, in fact, that before I hit the ground on the other side the cow hit the post I was using as a support to help me over.
I was so frightened and shaky when I landed that I just lay on the ground for 10 or 15 seconds and then I began to feel as though I were scratched a little. I got up and discovered that my shirt was torn beyond repair and that my pants had a rip from the right knee down. My right arm was scratched and my right hand was bleeding profusely.
Of course I’m afraid of contagious diseases down here, mostly of tetanus, so I headed for the camp as fast as I could. The Doctor is a kind, gentle sort of man and washed my arm and hand with alcohol. Then he swabbed on iodine by the paintbrush full, and after these two treatments I felt slightly faint. Fresh air helped however and then he bandaged them.
My ring finger was ripped open on both sides from the ring to the tip of my finger, my” pinky” was cut on the inside and between my thumb and first finger the skin was cut.
I took the last of the bandages off yesterday but as you can see, writing is still not as easy as it should be and I can’t bend my finger too much. That, I believe, is the only news that has occurred since I wrote you last week and at this point I am speechless.
Best wishes and luck to all,
Chico (Spanish for Lad)
I have never been chased by a cow or a bull, but reading my father’s description, I can see it all happening as if I was there. I’m sure my grandfather was thrilled to read of two more things (cows, tetanus) to worry about. My father stayed in Venezuela for two and a half years and I’m sure my grandfather had some restless nights, knowing that he was so far from home.
Tomorrow and Sunday I will be posting more letters from Dave’s World War II Army Adventure.
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