Saturday, December 30, 2006

My Dad Should Be Dead #2

My dad has always loved air planes. He was in the Civil Air Patrol for quite a while. They do Arial Search and Rescue and teach aerodynamics and aviation to young cadets. I'm sure they do much more than that now, but that was their main duty when my dad was in it. But my dad has had many jobs related to planes, he worked on them, flew a little, hauled gas for them, helped with crop dusting, etc.

When he was about 16 he had a job as a Spotter Flagman for crop dusting. He and another guy would be out in a field with a flag on a long pole to mark out a section to be sprayed. The plane would line up with the flag, and spray along that line. They would have to drop the flag as the plane got close, of course, because they flew pretty low, and would hit the flag. He had a long billed hat (you know, those that are much longer than normal) for shade and to keep some of the pesticide off his face.

They worked long days - out in the field by 6:30 am, work until noon, then come back about 4:oo pm and work till sundown. With refueling and loading the spray, they would work about 22 hour days, go home, take a shower, sleep for about 1 1/2 hrs, then be back out there.

During one point, they were spraying potatoes, and had a heavy customer load - lots of fields to spray, and they were behind. So they were pushing it, and going longer into the afternoon than was normal. My dad had set his pole, and as the plane turned and lined up on it, he could hear the wheels of the plane hitting the potatoes. Now, realize potatoes don't grow that tall so this plane was low. (Oh ya, just as a side note, this was one of those cool old, open cockpit planes.) Any way, my dad could hear the plane heading right for him, low enough to hit the potatoes as it sprayed, so he got down into the crops, like in a little fox hole. As the plane flew over him, he lifted his head just ever so slightly to see where the plane was, and the wheels of the plane caught his hat and pulled it right off his head. Can you say too close for comfort?

He looked for his hat in the field, but couldn't find it. They took a break, the plane went to refuel and reload. As it flew back to the field, my dad heard a loud thump near him. And there, tied to a rock was his hat with a note on it that said, "keep your head down or you'll lose it".

Oh ya, and of course, they weren't wearing any protective clothing, and would be covered, right along with the crops, with what ever it was they were spraying - usually DDT.

And again I say, my dad should be dead.

- Chel


Kara said...

Yikes! You're right, he should be dead! Yuck, being covered in pesticides!

Erika said...

Holy cow!

I'm glad your dad was alright :)

sarala said...

Another great story.
So are you living proof that pesticides do not cause birth defects in offspring?

Jessie said...

That's awesome about your blog of the day award. You deserve it! Happy New Year!!!

Mike said...

What an adventure lol. Makes me glad I don't do this for a living.

Skittles said...

Well.. sheesh!!!


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