Oops – They happen to us all

We have all had accidents. But how many of us had our misfortunes recounted in the local newspapers? Could you just imagine the whole community knowing? Well, that’s not hard for the ancestors who were members of the community pillars. Several of them had their oops’ reported publicly.

In 1893, Edward Coomer lost his thumb to a hungry horse from Montana.

Newspapers.com, Interior Journal, Stanford, Kentucky, 7 July 1893

Ironically, the apple didn’t fall very far through the Coomer generations. My husband also had an oops involving his thumb. He shaved off about two-thirds of his second thumb phalanx and about one-third of his index finger’s third phalanx courtesy of a hungry jointer planer. Modern medical knowledge enabled a micro-surgeon to reconstruct his digits. Thumbs up for shop safety, he says.

Albert (aka A.B.) Coomer, brother of Hugh Coomer, and son of Edward Coomer, broke an arm when he fell 15 feet from a makeshift scaffold after another man accidentally moved a ladder supporting one-half of the platform.

Newspapers.com, Kentucky Advocate, Danville, Kentucky, 26 May 1909

Another son of Edward, Robert Coomer, nearly took his own head off with an Ax.

Newspapers.com, Kentucky Advocate, Danville, Kentucky, 23 March 1915

Not every story made it into the newspapers. Emmitt Cobe’s brother, Joe, met his demise in a most painful oops. The family story is that Joe had been chopping wood, hit his foot with the ax, and bled to death (he might have been drinking per the story). His death certificate corroborates the ax part of the story as it records his death from Septicemia due to an “infected foot” caused by “accident – cut foot with ax.” He lived for 10 days after his oops.

The Rhoades’ have not escaped their own hair-raising oops. My father’s family were hunters, mostly deer. My grandfather and his friends hunted together every year. He would routinely drag my father and uncle along with them. I am not sure which one was with them for this story (if either), but my grandmother giggles over the time they shot the floor out of the car during one of these hunting trips. It is easy for her to giggle since no one was hurt, and these stories make for relieved laughter after the fact.

My own oops’ are numerous, but the one that I will probably never forget is a specific morning at Fort Riley. PT (physical training aka exercise) occurred every weekday morning before the sun comes up. My unit was exempt from PT when a field training exercise was scheduled (three shifts over twenty-four hours).

It was one of those weeks, and I had to pull the early shift (before PT starts) so I was headed to my car in the pre-pre-dawn hour. My car was parked on the street, downhill from the barracks yard (just a short three-foot decline). It was the middle of winter, and there was a thick layer of ice under a thin layer of fresh snow. As I neared the bottom of the slope, my foot did that banana peel number where both feet went out from under me, and I slipped up and back. I managed to land under my rear bumper, and my head hit the cement curb as if it were a pillow.

Now…some of you may cringe and think, ouch! But, as a woman, I avoided a concussion by my long hair tied up in a thick bun right where my head hit that curb. I was doubly fortunate that no one witnessed my oops as I was the only one out on the street at that hour – even in the military.

I know, not really genealogically related, but this was a challenging topic!

3 thoughts on “Oops – They happen to us all

    1. Funny, there are a few of us wives in town who exclaim those exact words! “Those darn Coomer boys!” LOL. I was never so happy to have to put my hair up in a bun as I was that morning. Thanks!

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