Alice wasn’t a farm girl. She was city raised, but she had fallen in love and married George and he was a sheep farmer. They had been engaged before the outbreak of the First World War, and George had returned home with an injured knee. It wasn’t particularly debilitating, but at times things flared up and he had to see a doctor.
The sheep farm had a cow to provide milk for the household, and of course it had to be milked every day. By now they had a daughter, Margaret. And then… George’s knee flared up and he had to go to hospital.
Alice had never milked a cow in her life but it was a task that had to be done. She took three hours on the first attempt. Eventually she walked over to the neighbouring farm and asked, “Can you come over and show me how to milk the darn cow?” Alice quickly became adept.
After a few months George’s knee hadn’t healed and the farm was too much of a burden. They sold the farm and went to live in the town.
Daughter Margaret wasn’t really a farm girl. She was city raised, but she had fallen in love with Bert and he was a farmer. One day Bert went down on one knee and said to Margaret, “Will you marry me?”
“Only if you first teach me how to milk a cow,” said Margaret.
It was to be just an ordinary day for Kendall. It was a Saturday, so it was not a work day. He would take apart an old chicken coop that he had made maybe forty years ago. His daughter’s little bantam with chickens had long gone, as had his daughter now married with a family of her own.
The coop had sat unused in the corner of the garden for years. Occasionally Kendall moved it a few feet this way and that in order to mow the grass which grew long and untidy around it.
Today was the day he would knock it apart. Until he began to dismantle it he didn’t realize just how many nails and staples he had used to hold the pieces of wood together. No wonder he and his wife were always short of money: he’d spent it all on nails!
Getting the wire-netting off was the worst bit. The wire-netting was stiff and the more he released it from the staples the more it swung uncontrollably around. It was almost inevitable that he would scratch his hand or arm. And scratch his hand he did.
It wasn’t exactly a scratch; it was more of a “poke”. A pointed piece of the wire-netting poked into his index finger on his left hand. Ouch! It wasn’t much, and although it bled a little bit (before stopping) Kendall carried on working. A little blood on a dismantled chicken coop was no big deal!
That night his finger began to hurt. By the next morning it had swollen. It was now Sunday and Kendall thought he would wait until Monday to see a doctor. It’s nothing much and the swelling will probably go down of its own accord. The cost of a weekend emergency visit to a doctor was astronomical.
By Monday he was dead. Who would have thought that an innocent chicken coop that he’d mowed around for well-nigh forty years would be the cause of his death?