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The party itself went well. Rob and I went over Friday evening to get the fireworks. We had $500 with us, knowing we usually get a big discount because we are both shooters. Plus we are both employees of the plant so we get a little more of a discount on top of that. Big Steve was supposed to meet us there but had gotten called to Missouri to do a seminar on fireworks safety. So Jim, one of the owners helped us out. He didn't really want to piss with figuring out the percentage discounts so he just stood there in the middle of the warehouse and said, "Everything in here is 1/2 off. Pick out $1000 worth of stuff and give me $500 and we'll call it even." So Rob and I picked out 6 shopping carts full of fireworks. Big ones. REALLY BIG ONES. Things that at most legal fireworks stands, you either couldn't get or would cost you so much all you could afford was 1 and you would have blown your whole budget. Then Jim got a little crazy and threw in some really cool fireworks because we didn't have any of those. all in all we ended up with about $1500 worth of fireworks for Saturday's party.

Saturday most of the day was spent cleaning and getting ready for the people to come. Food needed to be prepared and tables gotten out. Rob came over with Brenda and Lynn and brought out two campers to set up. That kind of changed the dynamic of the barnyard over previous years because both campers had extending awnings making it possible to sit under shade out in the barnyard. So we moved my pop-up tent down from by the garage and had about 300 square feet of shade. That took up most of the area we usually shoot skeet from but that was OK. The kids brought out dirt bikes and 4 wheelers and were having fun driving through a big mud hole at the end of the field lane. So it wasn't conducive to shooting skeet anyway. Plus since we started later, Rob and I were engaged in cooking and greeting people and that sort of thing. I counted at one point and we had 150 people there which I think is as big as it ever got. I got to meet lots of new people including one very interesting guy who pilots a tug down on the Illinois River. He leaned over my shoulder a lot while I was cooking to see what I was doing. Some people also brought covered dishes even though it really wasn't pot luck.

We ended up serving 30 pounds of fish, 10 pounds of homemade hot wings, 20 pounds of marinated, grilled chicken breasts, fried zucchini, 20 pounds of French fries, 30 pounds of potato salad, 10 pounds of Cole slaw, 20, pounds of baked beans, 50 ears of peaches and cream sweet corn, 5 grilled cabbages, 150 deviled eggs, gallons of chips and salsa, 5 gallons of homemade ice cream, 5 pineapple cobblers, 3 sheet pans full of brownies, 2 30 pound watermelons, 5 gallons of iced tea, 3 cases of soda, 6 cases of beer, a case of wine and 1 bottle of Jack Daniel's Single Barrel.

Just before dark, Rob and I got the fireworks fused and ready to go. Donned our protective gear and got everything set up. It was good and dark when we started lighting and the show lasted 25 minutes. The neighbors all sat out on their lawns to watch and several people stopped along the highway to check it out. We had 68 aerial shells in the finale which lit up the whole sky and could be seen from 15 miles away we found out later. And that's just a little show compared to the ones we'll do this weekend. Everyone said it was our best show ever for the party.

Afterward we built a big fire of osage orange I had laying around and sat around passing the wine and Jack Daniel's and telling tall tales on one another. The party finally broke up around 3 am. The campers went to bed and Deb and I wobbled up to our room. David and Tanya were already snoring in the big bedroom by the time we got to ours.

Sunday I would have liked to sleep in but our 4th of July fireworks were being delivered and we had to go into town to sort them all out. We are doing 4 shows in 2 days so it's going to be hectic enough without having to figure out where the driver put everything. We got back to the farm around 9:45 am and I started to cook breakfast for everyone. Lots of thick sliced Hickory Smoked bacon and French Toast, coffee and juice. It was actually looking to be my best batch of French Toast ever. I'd run out of Grand Marnier and had to use Amaretto which actually tasted better anyway. I had most of the people in the house and some of the kids wanted to stay out and ride their dirt bikes. So we left a couple parents out there to make sure they were safe and wearing their helmets and all. We were just starting to eat when we heard the sound. A loud whine from a dirt bike going too fast, then a crash and splintering of wood and a metallic bell sound.

Someone remarked "That can't be a good thing!" then 14 parents and cousins all cleared the house at once. Kids were screaming and people were rushing around and I heard Gwen yell, "It's broken, Mark, Call 911!"

I yelled at Deb to call 911 still not knowing what was going on. I could see everyone over by my gazebo so I ran over. Evin, Rob and Gwen's 11 year old and Deb's favorite cousin was laying on his back. The dirt bike was down in the trees behind the gazebo. A board fence was broken in two and the 40 pound cast iron school bell I had mounted on a creosoted telephone pole was laying on the ground, it's mounting broken in half. Evin had a bruise already forming on his chin and a cut on his forehead. It was plain from the way his leg was laying that it was broken as was his wrist. Gwen who is an RN though not practicing at this time was making him lay still and taking his pulse and all that. Everyone else engaged themselves in cleaning the area so the EMT's could get through. They arrived in good time with a good compliment of wailing police cars and we all went to the local hospital where they did x-rays and CAT scans. All the doctors said it was a good thing he had been wearing his helmet or it was likely he would have been killed. Evin says the brakes didn't work though they worked fine afterwards so we think he just got a little too brave coming up the barnyard hill and when he finally thought to hit the brakes, he was also hitting the accelerator and just failed to stop.

The local hospital wanted to get him down to the hospital in Springfield but were being very cautious about his pelvis so they airlifted him instead of an hour long ambulance ride. By this time all the cousins, aunts and uncles had arrived since they heard the ambulance call on their scanners. Tanya and I took off before the helicopter ever arrived so there would be someone at the hospital when he arrived. I lied to the receptionist and told him we were close cousins so we could get a family waiting room reserved and we started giving them information on Evin. He arrived via air 20 minutes before his parents and the rest of the entourage. They redid X-rays and CAT Scans and added an MRI for good measure, then he was rushed to surgery for 2 hours. At that point the entourage got shuffled off to a surgical waiting room from the emergency waiting room and also had to go out and move all our cars over to the other side of the hospital. This at least gave all the smokers some new scenery too look at whenever they had to go outside to smoke. After the surgery, the surgeon came out and told us the news. Hairline fracture of the left shoulder, broken left wrist which was set and would get a hard cast, compound fracture of the left femur (which was earlier discovered was poking out through the skin) and as a surprise extra, a broken knee. He now has two flexible steel rods holding his femur together and 2 screws holding his knee in place. Needless to say his summer is ruined. The rods and screws come out in 6 months if he is lucky. He will have to go back to Springfield weekly for physical therapy and it's likely his Mom will have to quit working for awhile to take care of him. But it could have been much worse as everyone kept reminding each other. I think this spells the end of dirt bike riding on the farm as well.

Tanya and I got back to town around Midnight, well after Evin was out of surgery and in his room recovering. He was a mass of bruises and his leg was still swelled triple in size when I saw him just before I left. Yesterday was spent returning to the hospital to take Rob and Gwen clothes and supplies and then an afternoon of meeting with the insurance company, taking photos of the accident scene and drawing diagrams of what happened. Afterwards we still had all the clean-up we would have done on Sunday so I took the day off work yesterday. Hopefully Evin will be coming home Wednesday if all goes well. He's going to be a sad little kid for awhile though. His first words yesterday were, "Is Mark gonna be mad at me for breaking his fence?" Gotta love kids sometimes. Apparently he started his physical therapy yesterday. He's going to have to have some time in a wheelchair for a bit but they are custom making a crutch that will be fitted to his left elbow so he will be able to get around on foot again soon. That's all I know for now. I still have to call Gwen today and see what is what. But at least, everyone is relatively safe and broken bones can heal.

Pictures at 11 as soon as I get them developed.

I can't say we don't at least have excitement at our parties.




( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 29th, 2004 10:55 am (UTC)
My prayers go out to Evin and the entire family. Blessings for a speedy recovery. That's it, I'm locking my 11 yr old in the basement playing video games for the rest of the summer:)

Sounds like you host excellent parties, wish we could have been there.
Jun. 29th, 2004 01:01 pm (UTC)
Maybe you can come next year. I think a couple parents had the same idea Sunday. Evin's grandfather wanted to know where the bike was so he could smash it. One of the parents that was watching just felt so bad because he could see what was about to happen and tried to lunge and catch Evin before he hit the fence but wasn't fast enough.

Jun. 29th, 2004 11:20 am (UTC)
now, see, here's the problem with the way you tell stories... ;-)

i was already in a food coma by the time the excitement hit, so it took me a while to catch up on the adrenaline scale.

honestly, though, my best wishes for Evin and please let me know if there's anything i can do to help.
Jun. 29th, 2004 12:17 pm (UTC)
His Mom gave me permission to ask people to pray and send energy for him. He is in Memorial Medical Center in Springfield Illinois. His name is Evin Hillyer so if you'd like to send him a little energy if for no other reason than to cheer him up, it might be good. and thanks!

Jun. 29th, 2004 12:29 pm (UTC)
does *he* want prayers and energy? i'm not getting a strong pull from him, so i have to ask.
Jun. 29th, 2004 12:33 pm (UTC)
I think he's scared and he wants to know people care about him. Other than that he doesn't have a real strong belief in anything. He was unconcious last I saw him so I couldn't ask him.

Jun. 29th, 2004 12:41 pm (UTC)
this is what i'm getting visually:

there's a big WOOSH (my right to my left) going through his torso, upper heart chakra to top of the public bone.

i'm going to read that as a need for soul retrieval. he's in trauma trance and has left a part of himself at the scene of the accident.

if you can get him back together, energetically, he'll heal faster, and he'll start accepting energy again. i'm not sure he's pulling much right now, simply because so much of him is back there.

also, if you can't do regression or soul retrieval or something with him, you may end up with him having some form of PTSD. this hit him on a soul and emotional level harder than people may realize.
Jun. 29th, 2004 01:06 pm (UTC)
Yeah it happened really fast for him. One minute he's doing normal 11 year old kid things with his friends and next thing he knows, he's a victim and getting put into all these unfamiliar situations, wondering if he's going to die and all that. I don't doubt that he left part of his soul behind from the way he was so confused at the accident scene. I'll do what I can though I'm not sure he or his parents will understand what I'm doing. I think I'll ask the others in the SB community to help too.

Jun. 29th, 2004 01:11 pm (UTC)
i generally prefer to do soul retrieval as a sort of client-directed hypnosis, with them being conscious of the process. it's mush more effective...

wish i was closer...

i'll keep trynig to work on the issue from here. part of what i'm getting is that it is time for his conscisuoness to awaken to higher levels of reality...

there i go, sounding all woo-woo again...
Jun. 29th, 2004 01:33 pm (UTC)
I don't mind. I understand you at least. No matter what I say next, I'm going to come off as sounding superior so I might as well just say it. His parents, Rob and Gwen are good people. Salt of the Earth. But they are not very open minded people when it comes to spiritual matters. Though not particularly Christian religious, I think they regard me as a bit of a kook for believing in the things I do. So we just don't talk about it much unless I'm asked about something. Gwen may be a little more open minded than Rob. I think she went to an acupuncturist once just to see what it was all about but for the most part, both of them are traditional medicine all the way. Rob is a pretty stern traditonalist when it comes to anything medical. As far as spiritual things go, I've heard him admit to seeing my grandmother's ghost but I've never heard him talk about God/god in any way shape or form. So I'm not sure how I'd even bring something like that up to them you know?

Evin on the other hand is funny about that. Even though no one in his family goes to church, he started going on his own to the Methodist church and then wanted to go to Sunday School as well. So maybe that's his way of putting into practice something he feels but can't vocalize properly.

I'm going to do what I can as well though I don't know what that will be. In cases like this, sometimes it's better for me to trust to my guides and just go with what feels right. Maybe I'll see you around him somewhere. Would a photo of the accident scene help? I'll have that in a few hours.

Jun. 29th, 2004 11:28 am (UTC)
Wow, I hope me and my fiance can come next year. It sounded like it was a blast. And the food & fireworks! WOW!

Hope Evin gets better fast!
Jun. 29th, 2004 12:19 pm (UTC)
He will. He ususally heals quickly plus he's still gowing so that helps. And you and hubby are welcome any time. It's always the last weekend of June each year.

Jun. 29th, 2004 11:40 am (UTC)
Wow... Evin is sure lucky he's young! I hope he gets much better soon. It sounds like maybe he grabbed the brakes and skidded instead of stopping in a more controlled manner.

It sounds like you put on a great party though.
Jun. 29th, 2004 12:21 pm (UTC)
We try anyway. We've never had any arrests thankfully. Usually we invite the local police to come and sometimes they show up with their families to watch the fireworks. I'm sure Evin will heal fast. Maybe his fishing skills will improve if all he can do is sit on the bank all summer.

Jun. 29th, 2004 12:47 pm (UTC)
Arrested? You guys are professionals. I'm sure you all know what you are doing... most of the time anyway. ;P
Jun. 29th, 2004 01:08 pm (UTC)
Well we are professionals and we alwys get permits signed to do our shows but you never know when some nosey neighbor might call the police. We always get permission from the county sheriff but that doesn't mean a State cop who hasn't heard we are legal won't stop and try to harass us.

Jun. 30th, 2004 10:13 am (UTC)
I sent some prayers for him, and I asked someone I know who shares similar beliefs to you to send him some healing energy.
Jun. 30th, 2004 10:16 am (UTC)
Thanks love. He's supposed to come home today.

Jul. 12th, 2004 07:52 pm (UTC)
Yowch. Holy cats. I hope the kid will be okay. Best wishes to him and his parents.

The rest of the party sounded good. Fun fireworks and a damn lot of food...what's peaches and cream sweet corn?
Jul. 12th, 2004 09:00 pm (UTC)
It's the yellow and white sweet corn that we only get down here for a few weeks out of every summer. Best of the lot. Yeah, he's started physical therapy today. Walking around with a walker and finally got his knee bent. He's doing better than most grown ups I've seen that happen to.

Jul. 12th, 2004 09:05 pm (UTC)
Ah all right. I've probably had it before. Midwest sweet corn from the farmer--the only good corn there is!

I'm glad Evin's doing okay, at least somewhat. Hopefully he'll make a good recovery.
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )