Tree Struck

“Dad, I really don’t think sending Cree with a bunch of boys is such a good idea.”

“Honey, if he doesn’t go, he’ll be at the bottom with his peers. Camping is one of the best things kids can do, besides, his leaders will be up there most of the time,” Cree’s dad said, comforting his mom.

Recently Cree’d returned from a four day cattle drive on which, for the first time in his life (and he later realized, his last), he got homesick. It struck on the third day, and Cree couldn’t stand to even sit in a saddle, so his poor horse had been loaded behind the food truck and pulled to the next stop. He was the laughing stock of the entire group of cowboys (the oldest of them being fourteen).

Now, Cree had a chance to redeem himself with an all boys campout into the Sierra Madre Mountains. They were planning to spend a few days at a ranch locally called the Chimney. The only problem was, his mom felt, in her gut, uncomfortable about the campout.

Cree’s dad was a case you couldn’t argue with and win, so his logic won out on this little debate.

“Alright, he can go. But Cree… YOU BE CAREFUL!”

He hadn’t the slightest clue what she was worried about. So, on Thursday morning, he was packed and ready to fly. The group couldn’t resist teasing a bit about the last little venture they’d taken. Cree just laughed and threw it all to the wind, this was his chance to shine.

The long drive to the Chimney ended up with a little sunburned group of boys. Expected with them riding in the back of a pickup in the natural Mexican heat.

When they arrived, Cree set up his tent like a twelve-year old pro. The stuff in his gear could impress even the most asinine critic. When one of the boys ripped a hole in the bottom of his tent Cree pulled out his first aid kit and handed the other boy a needle with the same color of thread as the tent.

That evening, they all enjoyed a delicious tin-foil dinner and Cree even got a supporter. The guy he’d helped told the others to lay off. He even pointed out that they hadn’t planned for any emergencies and Cree appeared to know what he was doing).

The Obstacle Course

Friday morning they unloaded some of the pulleys a leader had brought up and created a wonderful trolley swing across the brook and up to the side of a cliff.

Then, Cree used some fancy knots to tighten it. They were all Boy Scouts, but only a handful actually knew how to tie any knots. Of course, someone always had to try and prove they were better. It only took a short time for the boys to create an obstacle course that could make some of the best outdoor challenge instructors jealous.

For the entire day, all of the boys separated into teams and had relay races to see who could work together the best to complete the course. Cree’s team squeaked into first place by about fifteen whole seconds.

The Accident

Saturday, the boys packed up to go home. Cree felt like a million dollars, his peers were actually treating him okay. So they celebrated together in the back of a huge cattle truck on the way home… or at least the part Cree remembered.

From the accounts of the other boys, Cree stood up in the back of the truck and would dodge branches if and when they passed a tree. Something drew his attention towards the back of the truck for a moment and the only branch left before they hit open road caught him on the back left portion of his head. Cree landed on one of the other boys and at first the poor guy thought he was playing around, but when they pushed Cree off, realized he was covered in blood.

The Boy Scouts, knew immediately what to do, and two of them went to work. They stopped the bleeding and made sure Cree wasn’t injured further.

The Aftermath

Remembering felt like trying to see through torrential rain; if rain were cloudy mud. Cree groaned as he struggled to regain consciousness. For a moment he thought he saw his grandfather standing over a boy… him! Lying on the bed in front of him. That didn’t make sense. The clouds took over again.

The next time he woke up, Cree saw his dad watching over him.

“Where’s Grandpa?” Cree asked.

“He isn’t here. He came and went while you were out.” Cree’s Dad told him.

Rather quickly, his Dad filled Cree in on the last few days.

Cree reached up and gingerly felt the triangular soft spot on his skull.

His Dad continued recounting how he’d begun in a hospital in the city of Casas Grandes. But, Cree had begun yelling at the young nurses every time they tried to touch him.

The Doctor had referred them to El Paso, to a neurologist with a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. The neurologist had monitored Cree’s progress over the weekend, and watched as his head quickly stabilized.

At checkout, the doctor instructed the tired parents to keep Cree out of contact sports.

Lessons Learned

Things Done Well

  • Having everything I needed in an emergency, especially a first aid kit
  • Showing kindness to anyone who needed it, even if it literally meant nothing to me

Things To Fix

  • Avoid standing up in the back of a moving truck, especially around trees
  • Always place yourself in a safe position before taking your eyes off of a persistent threat

Count Your Blessing

  1. First, having friends who where well trained and cared enough to save my life in a crazy emergency
  2. Next, the quick miracle of my community coming together to pray for my speedy recovery
  3. Finally, having the opportunity to learn from a mistake and live to try again later

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