I pulled my son's air rifle out this past Saturday so he could get in session of backyard target practice. It had been a while since he had shot it, so I went through the whole safety spiel with him before letting him handle the gun. "Be safe," I said, "because it only takes once. One mistake, one careless moment, one shortcut with a gun could hurt or kill you or someone else."
The same goes for farm equipment, and I should have taken my own advice earlier today.
Though I generally use common sense and follow safety guidelines around the farm, I'm willing to admit that I've cut a corner now and then if doing the safe thing was really inconvenient. Like this morning, for instance. One of our tractors needed to go to the dealership's shop for repairs, and the hauler asked me to remove the GPS antenna off the roof before he left our farm. I should have gone looking for a ladder, but that would have taken too long. So I climbed up on the trailer, shimmied up the tractor's cab steps, grabbed the top of the roof, stepped onto the top of the rear tire, and swung around to the back where I could detach the unit while standing on the three-point hitch's lift arms. Mission accomplished, no problemo. Now I just had to get down.
|a swollen foot was the extent of my injuries...luckily|
I started my descent by retracing my steps, but my route changed halfway through. The most awkward part of the process was getting from the tractor tire to the platform in front of the cab door. I got one foot there but lost my balance trying to get the other one over. Very luckily for me, I had enough time to realize what was happening and knew the best thing to do was push off and jump away. I landed hard but on my feet with nothing worse than a bruised foot from the 8-9 foot fall to show for it. It could have been much worse, as I likely would have fallen over backwards if I hadn't been able to push myself away from the tractor and trailer. Of course, it wouldn't have happened at all if I had taken two minutes to fetch a ladder.
As I sat in the car on the way home from my son's soccer game tonight, all four of us singing along to "Louisiana Saturday Night" and having a grand time while my left foot throbbed, I decided life's too precious not to take a little extra time to be safe. As I said earlier, it only takes once. Hopefully once was enough to learn my lesson, because I might not be so lucky if there is a "next time".