“Where is he?”
“In the hideout.”
“Aaaaaaaahhhhhhhrrrgggrhhhh!!! We’re going to get you this time Butch Cassidy (or someone).” Run, run, run, run, run, run across the pasture to a hole we’d all dug. And there he was, of course, in the hideout.
“Bang, bang, bang!” Wooden guns or fingers. Nothing draws faster than fingers.
“You can’t get me!” Up out of the hole. Run, run, run, run, run, run across the pasture to an unanticipated destination (behind the chicken house? Behind the cottonwood tree? Behind the COW for godsakes?)
“Get ‘im!” Run, run, run, run, run, run across the pasture.
“I got a nail in my knee!”
“Uh oh.” War over. Cousin on one side, cousin on the other, brother behind. “We better go to gramma’s.”
Hobble, hobble, hobble, across the pasture. Blood streaming down my leg.
Dad comes out. Practically faints. “We have to clean that right now or she’ll get lockjaw.”
“She’s had the DPT, Bill.”
“What’s lockjaw?” Suddenly the mortal wound — quite bloody and fairly deep — doesn’t matter as much as this strange word. “Lock+jaw.”
“Tetanus, honey. Put your leg under the water.” I sit on the edge of my gramma’s old bathtub. “The hotter the water the better. Remember, there are no antiseptics better than lots of hot water and soap.” Truth.
“It’s a terrible disease where your jaws lock shut and you can’t eat and you can’t drink and you die. Put your knee UNDER the running water, dammit! Do you want to die?”
My dad was never chintzy with consequences.