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.