It was just about time for dinner. All the kids were busy with afternoon playtime. From my bedroom upstairs I could hear someone screaming. I looked from my window and saw Charlie nearing the back door at a run.
I ran down the stairs and met him in our laundry room. When he stopped running he started hoping. He couldn’t stand still. He sat on the cool linoleum floor and held his feet up at me. The bottoms of both feet were burned. Charlie was crying and a little hard to understand. He’d been out playing in the field and come upon the burn pile. The burn pile didn’t appear to be burning and he started across it. Well, the surface wasn’t burning but had a crust of ash and that is what Charlie saw. Under the crust were red coals from layer upon layer of burned brush.
When Charlie had taken a few steps his feet got hot causing him to jump. He was wearing beach walkers and one came off. Then he had to run to the edge of the burn pile with only one shoe. He immediately started running to the house and the other beach walker flew off. He told me he was running so fast his tears went to his ears instead of down his cheeks.
Adam had also heard Charlie’s screams. When he had made sure Charlie was with me he went to the burn pile. He found one beach walker about 10 tree rows from the pit and could see the other one melting in a footprint of ash.
I stuck Charlie in the bath tub and ran cool water over his feet. One foot showed burn area all the way across and between the toes. The other foot was burned only at the edges. Besides the burns on his feet, when he was running to the house he was running through a field of puncture vines. He had whole stickers and little pieces of stickers all over the bottoms of both feet. He was crying the most pitiful cry. It wasn’t a made up and feel sorry for me cry. It was a cry of pain. I called the doctor who recommended cool water, some Aspirin, and ointment when he could stand it.
The skin was peeling off before I took him out of the tub. Larry carried him downstairs and put him on the couch where he stayed until Adam carried him up to bed. I was up several times during the night. He would drift to sleep but wake up often to intense pain. When we asked him about the stickers he said his feet burned so badly he didn’t know he was running through stickers.
Those little feet healed and carried Charlie to many more adventures growing up on the farm.