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The Meat Grinder


I have received great pleasure from reading accounts of the experiences of growing up in Frederick, Oklahoma (authored by James Redeker & Danny Griffin), and have decided to try my hand at recording some of my own memories. One of my earliest memories is of a very traumatic event in the fall of 1950, which I shall try to relate.

My dad was a cotton farmer, and had several hundred acres of cotton, all of which was harvested manually. Because of the increased need for supervision of large crews of “boll-pullers”, my mother was temporarily “de-moted” during cotton harvest from her position of mom to that of “chief weigher” of the cotton sacks brought in by the laborers. Since I was the baby of the family and the only child not in school, I was assigned to stay with my older sister, who was married to a school teacher and lived about 20 miles away. I was pleased with the arrangement, as I enjoyed my sis, her husband, and their new baby, plus being allowed much time for playing tractors and trucks. One of my favorite places to play was in the sand-filled bar ditch in front of her house.

On the day of my traumatic event, I was playing in the sandy ditch, totally immersed in my imaginary world, when an old man backed out of the driveway across the road. The man was driving a 1940s Ford truck (sans power steering) and took the longest arc available in backing onto the street. This maneuver caused the truck to back into the ditch where I was playing, and the rear tire actually ran over my head. Apparently, the only thing protecting me was the soft sand and the fact that my head popped out from under the tire in a manner similar to how an oyster would pop out of your hand if you tried to squeeze it. I don’t remember a great deal of what happened in the next short while, but what I remember changed my life.

I remember being puzzled as to why everyone was rushing around and my sis was crying, but I don’t remember being in any pain. My most distinct memory is of being wheeled on a gurney into an x-ray room and of seeing the large x-ray machine, which to me appeared to be a very large version of the meat grinder which my mother used to attach to the kitchen table and grind the leftover roast beef for making beef sandwich mixture. As you might guess, my limited understanding caused me to believe that it was a meat grinder, and I, well, yes, I was the meat. My terror didn’t last all that long, but the realization that I was mortal and would someday die changed my life from that point on.

In the ensuing months I began to ask a great many questions about death and life after death. From the careful answers given by my Sunday School teacher, parents, and others, I began to understand that I was a sinner, by nature and by choice, and that God would require of me a penalty for my sin, unless someone worthy would take that punishment for me. My brother, who was only two years my senior, had already made a decision to become a Christian. I had seen him get baptized, and asked him the meaning of that act. He answered my questions in a way I could understand, and helped me know that Jesus was worthy and willing to take the penalty of my sin and that I too could have a personal relationship with this Jesus of whom he spoke.

The most important relationship in my life has been, and continues to be my relationship with Jesus Christ, the Lord of my life.

David Barnett Contributing Columnist Barnett Contributing Columnist

By David Barnett

Reach David Barnett by contacting Cheryl Orr at


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