A story about the unluckiest man ever and how he passed away.
My Mom was telling the story about Grandpa's youth. He always wanted to be able to juggle. Unfortunately, when he was young, his family was poor. He couldn't afford balls. My Great Grandmother wouldn't let Grandpa juggle sticks because she was afraid he would put out his eyes. I guess she knew how unlucky he was from a young age. Grandpa really wanted to learn to juggle so he looked for something to use. Living on a farm, there weren't many things around except animals. That's when Grandpa hit on an idea.
Grandpa's family had a cat to keep the rat population under control. This cat had had kittens. They would fit in Grandpa's hand easily so he tried juggling the kittens. Kittens aren't easy to juggle. The first time he threw them in the air, they freaked out. Once they landed back in his hand, they wouldn't let go. It's hard to juggle kittens who have dug their claws in your hands. So, Grandpa did the only thing he could. He tied their paws together. Of course, he quit trying to juggle kittens after Fluffy died. It's not what you think, though. She got hit by a car. I mean, she would have gotten away from the car but how fast can you run with your paws tied together? Grandpa quit eating mashed carrots after that, claiming they reminded him of Fluffy.
One summer, when Grandpa was a teenager, he went to the lake with some of his friends. It was a nice place with a boat dock that the kids used for diving. Grandpa thought that he would dive off the dock. When he became ready to dive, his feet slipped out from beneath him and he hit the water belly first. Grandpa wasn't happy. Since the dock was slippery, he decided that he would take a run at the dock and slide into the water. He started running, then fell to his backside and slid into the water. Everyone thought that it was great. At least, until Grandpa got out of the water. He had picked up a splinter that was so deep he had to have it surgically removed. Talk about a pain!
Even when he grew older, Grandpa's luck never changed. As a young man, he got a job running a router at the furniture factory. Once again, luck wasn't on Grandpa's side. Grandpa had a lapse of concentration and had a finger sheared off at the hand. When he returned to work, a few weeks later, a safety inspector came to talk with Grandpa. The safety inspector asked Grandpa how the accident happened. The company wanted to make sure it never happened again. Grandpa showed how it happened and accidentally chopped off another finger.
Even after he got married, Grandpa's luck never changed. He had married a very pretty girl from a nearby farm. Unfortunately, her temper was as fire red as her hair. One evening, they got into an argument. Grandpa's wife was known to throw things, so he tried to stay as far away as he could when they were fighting. Seeing that she couldn't hit him with anything that she threw, Grandma took the iron skillet off the stove and chased Grandpa while swinging the pan hoping to hit him. Once Grandpa was cornered on the front porch, Grandma took a swing with the skillet. Grandpa ducked, Grandma lost her balance and fell over the porch rail. When she hit the ground, Grandma's neck was broken.
When I was in my twenties, my family moved to another state because of my Dad's job, so I got to know Grandpa even better. He was a real nice guy but his luck never changed. I remember when I went to visit and his neighbor had seen me pull into the driveway. His neighbor came over to inform me that Grandpa was in the hospital. I was shocked. I went to the hospital and found that he had been there for three days and hadn't called me. I went in the room and there Grandpa sat watching television. I asked what happened. Grandpa said that he had gone to feed the hogs and a big boar had knocked him down. As he was getting up, the boar sat down on him and broke his hip. I asked why he hadn't called me. Grandpa asked, "You know how to fix a broken hip?" That's the way Grandpa was. He was never willing to have other people share in his misery. He wanted to protect us from his luck.
But today, we're all here at his funeral. Sure he was old enough to die of natural causes but he didn't. The bad luck that followed him his whole life played a part in his passing.
Grandpa always loved hunting. He had been reading about the red deer that inhabit the Swiss Alps. The male, or buck, stood four feet at the shoulders and weighed an average of five hundred pounds. The largest deer that Grandpa had ever killed was a mule deer. It stood three feet at the shoulders and weighed three hundred pounds. Grandpa wanted a red deer to hunt. He took his life savings and travelled to Switzerland. He took his most powerful rifle and some special bullets. The bullets were special because Grandpa made them.
Grandpa had been reloading his bullets for years. He did it to save money and he was especially careful when he did it. He knew he wasn't very lucky, so he took extra care. The bullets Grandpa made were special becuase they were made from dry ice. Grandpa had read about bullets made from dry ice in a crime novel. He thought it was a good idea. Dry ice is made from chemicals that can burn unprotected skin. When exposed to warm temperature, dry ice would melt just like regular ice. Grandpa thought it was the perfect bullet material. The dry ice would cauterize the wound that it made, as it travelled into the body. It wasn't hard enough to go all the way through a body and ruin the hide. It would melt soon thereafter.
So Grandpa took his rifle, his special bullets and a thermos of coffee and headed into the Swiss Alps. On his third day, Grandpa saw and shot a male red deer. It was huge, too. The only problem Grandpa didn't forsee was getting a five hundred pound animal from the top of a mountain. I guess he didn't think he'd be lucky enough to see one much less shoot it. Fortunately, Grandpa saw and shot a deer and now he had the unenviable task of getting it down the mountain. Rather than field dress the animal by removing the insides, Grandpa wanted to bring it down intact. He thought it would be make a better picture. As his life should have shown him, he should have field dressed the deer on the top of the mountain. But, he didn't.
Grandpa couldn't hoist the deer on his shoulder, so he decided to push it down the snowy slope. As he pushed, he saw that it kept hitting trees and small brush before stopping. Grandpa thought that he could pull it. That worked well until they were about a thousand meters from the valley. At the bottom of the valley was a road. He could have someone pick it up for him there. The last thousand meters was relatively tree free but Grandpa was aware of hs luck. If he pushed it, he was afraid that it would skid out into the road and get hit by a car. Grandpa wanted this trophy intact for the picture. So, Grandpa thought he would pull it and that he could slow it down if it got too fast. That didn't work the way he thought.
One good tug and the deer started moving. It got faster and faster. Grandpa tried slowing it down and tripped on a branch hidden in the snow. As the deer travelled, it caught Grandpa in its antlers. Try as he might, Grandpa couldn't get free from the antlers. The deer kept pushing him, faster and faster down the mountain. He hit every tree on his way down. It looked like a snow plow, the deer pushing Grandpa to make an even, clear path for the deer to travel. It reached incredible speeds and the few cars that were on the road stopped to watch. By the time the deer and Grandpa had stopped, people were rushing to the scene to see if Grandpa was okay. He wasn't. He had hit too many trees on the way down.
By the time the ambulance had been summoned, Grandpa laid dead at the bottom of the mountain. People removed Grandpa from the deer's antlers and cleared the brush from his body. As Grandpa's body was being lifted in the ambulance, the deer opened it's eyes. I scrambled to it's feet and trotted away. The bullet had knocked it out. Grandpa's bullet had cauterized the wound and the dry ice had melted. The deer, while sore, was relatively unharmed. It would continue to live it's life.
He should have known. Nothing ever worked out for Grandpa. He made a special bullet for a special trip to kill a special deer.
Instead, he died in a special way.