Biographical Non-Fiction posted January 24, 2017

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January 24, 2016


by davisr (Rhonda)

Let me preface this by saying that I was raised in the city. Wayne and I have been married just under four years, three at the time of this accident. Today, January 24, 2017 marks one year to the day since "it" happened. I'm ready to share my story.


"You know," I said, "if we load Annie first, Little Britches will follow her into the trailer."

Wayne looked up from where he straddled the chute, a broken cattle prod in his hand. Beneath him a 600 pound yearling bull stomped and bellowed in anger. He wasn't going into the cattle trailer.

"What makes you think you can get Annie in there?"

"She likes me."

"Okay, but even if you get her in, this bull is too angry to cooperate."

"That's because you left him in the corral all night without his mama."

"John was supposed to pick him up last night before dark."

"I'm not blaming you or John," I said. "I'm just saying he'll go in if Annie's there."

"Okay, go ahead and try."

Wayne closed the corral gate and pulled the cattle trailer back. Annie, of course, was right beside us trying to figure out why we were torturing her adult child.

"Annie, load up," I said. She looked at me like I had just grown two horns, and both were sticking out of my forehead.

I smiled and dropped some range cubes on the floor of the trailer. Without a moment's hesitation, she hopped in and began eating the cow candy.

"You bribed her," Wayne said.

"I got her in."

Wayne laughed, then went inside the trailer to close an inner gate and separate Annie from the bull we were about to load. "Let's hope the calf gets in as easy ... "

He didn't ... but he did finally load. Angry bulls are, after all, angry bulls.

"So, are you going to John's to drop him off?" I asked. I had done my part, and was about to go inside and crochet. I had a new grand baby.

"Yes ... no ... wait," Wayne said. "The gate between Annie and the bull came open. Grab that board and put it between them so I can close it."

"Why not just let them stay together until you get there, and then you and John can separate them?"

Just like the bull earlier, Wayne looked at me like I had two horns growing out of my forehead. Hmmm, maybe I did.

I could see I wasn't getting anywhere with the suggestion, and since I felt I was a pretty good cowgirl, I grabbed the indicated slab of wood and shoved it in between the slats in the cattle trailer. Job done. Farming was easier than people made it out to be ... ha, call me a city girl now!

"I got it closed, pull the board out, quick," Wayne said. I imagined him climbing down the other side of the trailer, his foot hovering above ground.

I pulled, but the board got hung up on something, I still don't know what ... doesn't matter.

"Hurry, pull it," I heard.

"It's stuck."

Wham ... the world started whirling around me. I held onto the board, fighting to remain vertical. Wham ... I went down, blood oozing out of my mouth. The angry bull had his revenge. He had kicked the board in anger. The board hit me straight in my chin, breaking it and two teeth, popped back and hit me on the side of the head breaking the jawbone again by my ear.

"Stay awake," I said over and over. "Please, God, help me stay awake."

I couldn't see anything, but felt the frigid ground penetrate my clothes, and cold air brush my face. I fought to focus my eyes, to move my legs, to move anything.

Eventually, I found everything but my jaw worked, but I still couldn't see. I turned over on my side because of the bleeding in my mouth -- first aid 101. I placed one fist under my neck in case it was broken, and the other to the left of my chin where the first blow landed. I didn't think about it, I just reacted.

But, back to Wayne.

"Rhonda, are you okay?" I heard.


I heard him kneel beside me.

"Rhonda, Rhonda, look at me."

"Call 911, then call Pastor Glenn."

He made the first call, but then the phone locked up. It seems 911 calls do that.

"Call Pastor Glenn."

"I can't. The phone's locked up."

"Then get mine."

"I don't know where it is."

"I don't either. Please pray for me." He did, tears staining his rugged face.

Time passed as I listened to Wayne talk to the 911 operators. I worked to focus my eyes, and finally, got them to roll back from my head. I could see Wayne sitting beside me, his hand on my arm.

He had a phone pressed desperately to his ear. To a series of operators, he explained what had happened, where we lived, and how to get to the farm.

"No, the bull is in a trailer," he said to the last one. "No, it's not running around. Yes, she was unconscious, but is awake now."

Frustrated, I reached out and grabbed the phone.

"Would you people please get here," I said through clenched teeth. "My jaw is broken, I have blood running out of my mouth, and I'm fairly certain I have a concussion."

Wayne grabbed the phone back. I could hear the operator instructing him to ask me to calm down. Help was on the way. Really? It had been at least an hour. Wayne told me later it was twenty minutes, but still...

Not much later, I heard a fire truck pull into the driveway. I was rescued.

The rest of the experience remains a blessed blur. I remember pain, fear, torment, and raw courage (I may be exaggerating on the courage).

Each and every healthcare professional I saw told me I was lucky to be alive. I didn't feel that way. I hurt, my head felt like it had been stewed around with a blender, and my mouth was wired shut. However, in retrospect, I realize I was quite fortunate. God, Wayne, my friends, family and good doctors put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

One year, and five operations later, I stand here a survivor. Some of you know parts of this story, and many offered priceless comfort and support. I will be forever changed by this experience. I chose to fight for a reason, but why God spared me, remains one of His secrets. One thing I do know for sure ... I'm not alone. Thank you FanStorians!

Share Your Story contest entry


A special thanks for the artwork, "The Matador" by James Paganelli.

This is as true a story as I remember. I may have embellished the conversation, but not the events. I am a novelist after all!

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