Saturday, October 24, 2009

I Fell Off The Wagon

October, the beautiful month of harvest.  The air is crisp and clean in Iowa.  Farmers are bringing in the crops.  The annual Swisher Men's Club Haunted Hayrack Ride occurs the weekend before Halloween.  And it is the weekend I fell off the wagon back in 1995.  Literally.  

Every year my friends, family and I usually celebrate by bringing a bottle of wine to share while waiting to ride on the haunted hayrack ride. One bottle of wine is usually enough to keep us warm while waiting about the usual 1 hour in line.  Two things happened in October 1995 different from other years.  The wait in line turned out to be 4 hours and my sister's friends brought a trailer with a keg of beer and an assortment of other alcoholic beverages.  You can do the math. Time + mega amounts of alcohol = Rita in a drunken stupor.  Let's just say I wasn't feeling the pain or the cold when we got on the hayrack ride at about 1 AM.

The ride was great with the usual scary monsters out in the field and other frightening scenery.  I believe that was the year they set up a train track with railroad signs.  The wagon was stopped on the tracks when suddenly a bright light was shined on the wagon with the sound of a train barreling down the tracks.  Then we saw it coming. I'm telling you, folks, the train front looked real and appeared like it would hit the wagon.  Anyway, we made it through safe and sound and the tractor started heading back.  Everyone was calming down and it seemed like the ride was almost over.  But, wait!  Here comes the chainsaw murderer! And he had a real chainsaw (minus the chain, of course).  He jumped on the wagon and ripped the cord started the unmistakable sound of the chainsaw motor.  All the people surged forward and there I sat at the front of the wagon, loose as a goose, when I was pushed off the wagon.  I landed on the ground with a THUD between the tractor and wagon.  No one saw me fall. They were too worried about that dang chainsaw to notice that poor ol' Rita was pushed overboard. This all took place very quickly, but my alcohol infused brain made it feel like it was an eternity.  And the tractor driver did not stop.

I remember thinking as I saw the wagon wheels slowly moving in my direction, "Oh, shit, I am going to be run over.  Well, let's see, I could roll out of the way.  NAHHHH!  I'm too drunk. How about if I grab the tongue of the wagon?  OK, I got one arm hanging around the tongue as I am being dragged to my death.  OK, I've two arms holding on now so I'm dragging along nicely. Hey, wait a sec, how about if I wrap my legs around the tongue too so I can hang like a  possum on a tree branch?  Cool, this is working pretty good and only my butt is dragging on the ground now."

Finally, one of the men from the club saw me and ran to stop the tractor driver.  I had so much adrenaline pumping in my blood that I bounced up and announced to everyone, "I'm OK, I'm OK, I'm OK."  I received a sitting ovation from everyone on the wagon.  By the way, I was wearing a bug costume and in the process of the fall, dragging and possum hanging, I never even lost my antennas. They were still attached to my head. Then the pain set in.  I must have smacked my ankle on the tongue during the fall and the pain was excruciating.  One of the club members packed my ankle in ice while I waited for my husband to bring the car around.  One the way home, the husband asked me if I wanted to go the emergency room.  My sister, who is a nurse at the hospital, always tells me some of the juicier ER stories. I was imagining how it would play out.....

A drunken bug with antennas limps into the emergency room around 2 AM and is asked, "How did this happen, ma'am?"

"Well, it started after waiting in a long line with an unlimited supply of alcohol while waiting to get on a haunted hayrack ride during which the chainsaw man poked everyone in the heinie causing me to fall off the wagon so that I was almost run over until I had the brilliant idea to hang like a possum from the tongue of the wagon."

I told the husband I would wait until later that morning to see if I really needed to go to the ER.  And that, my friends, was how I fell off the wagon. Like my friend Lindy said, I couldn't make this stuff up if I wanted to.


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