When I was Young No. 16 – Shot in the Arm

Shot in the Arm

Mother said that she wanted to have a small garden in the open space between our place and the Olson farm just up the hill. Mr. Olson plowed the packed soil and prairie grass for her. She used a spade to turn over the furrows and asked me to break up the clumps with a hoe and rake it smooth so she could plant.

I was chopping hard and suddenly my left arm went limp; it just hung at my side. It was really a strange feeling. I thought I had twisted it by hitting the sod too hard with the hoe. I lifted my skinny arm and turned it with my right hand to see what was wrong.

A small trickle of blood ran down my arm. I examined it and saw a gray object sticking out about half way between my shoulder and elbow. I released my limp arm and it fell like a loose rope. There was still no feeling. By the time I got the hundred feet or so to the house, it started to tingle like an arm recovering from having been slept on all night.

I looked for Mother but she was not home. I pulled out the object myself with a pair of tweezers. There was only a little more bleeding. I swabbed the wound with rubbing alcohol and felt the burning sting.

The object was a twenty-two caliber bullet but I had not heard a shot. I saved the bullet to show my mother when I told her what had happened. I could move all of my fingers so that was the end of it.

I learned later that a .22 long rifle round could travel nearly a mile.

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