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Voices of Spencer Creek

The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: Frannie and the Arrow

Then through the stupor of sleep I became aware of a childish scream.

By Lois Barton

Posted on Mar 29, 2006

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Birthdays and Other Occasions to Celebrate

Six years ago this month, April, 2000, West By included my first article online. This seems a suitable occasion to observe that anniversary with pleasure and a sense of accomplishment. Our editor has done a commendable job of continuing this journal with skill and dedication and the world has been enriched by her commitment. This outlet for my creativity has enriched my life as well.

April 1, 2006, is the date of my 88th birthday. My mind has wandered back over the years. As I celebrate this milestone I have recalled a bizarre birthday experience many years ago which is from my book
Daughter of the Soil now out of print. How many milestones are involved in 88 years of living!

It was my forty-ninth birthday, April 1, 1967.

I'd been on the go for many hours doing chores, both inside and out of the house for my family of ten and some of their friends. Mid-afternoon I sent the younger children out to play for a bit so I could nap undisturbed.

The bed felt so good I dozed off in minutes. Then through the stupor of sleep I became aware of a childish scream. By the time I was fully awake the sound had ceased and I decided it must have been some playful exuberance. As sleep was about to claim me again our oldest son came into my bedroom bearing a ten-year-old Frannie in his arms and laid her beside me on the bed.

"What's this all about?" I wondered as I sat up. Looking sick at heart he explained, "I shot her with an arrow. I didn't see her there behind the tree. Arnie and I were out in the field, target practicing. When we came in we thought to pull our bows for one last shot and the big pine tree in the barnyard seemed a safe target."

He helped me pull the child's black stretch slacks from her slender body, revealing a bloody stain on her new undies over one hip.

"I had a two inch wide, knife-sharp metal deer point on my arrow," Dave continued. "It lifted her clear off the ground when I yanked it out."

There was not much blood exuding from the slit where the arrow had penetrated to the pelvic bone. I loaded the child in the car and took her to the emergency department at the hospital. There doctors cleansed and stitched the cut while they joked about how seventy years had passed since medics knew much about treating arrow wounds.

I had been permitted to accompany my child into the operating room. Watching the doctor slide his finger back and forth, inserted up to the knuckle in that slit while he rinsed the cut repeatedly with a disinfectant from a syringe, came nearer causing me to faint than any other experience I've ever had.

Later Frannie explained, "Rachel and I heard the boys coming. We decided to hide from them behind that big tree so they wouldn't tease us. She got there first, but I thought I was hidden too. When the arrow hit me it didn't hurt that much, but I didn't want a hole in my new underpants."

The wound healed with no complications. Not many girls today can display a scar from an arrow wound. Had that arrow struck an inch farther forward it would have sliced her abdomen open clear across. Once the emergency had been dealt with, I began to realize how much worse it could have been, and gave thanks for our daughter's life.

Copyright ©2006 by Lois Barton

Writer and historian
Lois Barton

Lois Barton is an 88 year old mother of eight children. She has lived on the same rural acreage just south of Eugene, Oregon for more than 50 years. All their children learned to milk, to keep the woodboxes filled, to do their share of household and garden chores. Her first book, Spencer Butte Pioneers, was published in 1982 when her youngest started to school. Since then she wrote five other books: Daughter of the Soil, now out of print; One Woman's West; A Quaker Promise Kept; and Through My Window, autobiographical sketches, sequel to Daughter Of the Soil.

Through the years Lois has been a 4H leader, president of the neighborhood association, a precinct committee woman, election board clerk, editor of the Lane County Historian, and a life-long Quaker. She spent a month in Southeast Asia in 1974 as a member of a church peace mission, after working for ten years as director of the Eugene Chapter of the World Without War Council.

Follow the links of the Voices of Spencer Creek for the most recent articles by Lois Barton, including:

The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: Bhavia's Cambodia

The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: The Saga of the Smoking Chimney

The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: The Saga of Big Oak Stables

The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: A Fishy Story

The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: A Different Peace

The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: Hal and the Mountain

The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: A Rogue River Adventure

Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: Obituary for a Country Cat

The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: The Cortesia Sanctuary

The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: The Tree and Me and Lady Slippers

The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: Cranberries

The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: Endurance Riding

The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: Butterflies and Community Development

and The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: The Last Gift.

See more of Lois Barton's articles in West By online magazine's archives:

Visit the Heron Rookery

Sauerkraut and All That

Charlotte's Overdose - Just who is Charlotte and what did she take?

The Midwife–The midnight call awoke an unusual midwife.

The Mystery of Fox Hollow - Fact and fiction meet in this story of the origins of Faith Rock.

Trees, Tame Trees and Squirrel.

© Copyright 2000-2004 by West By

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