“Close Call on the Chicken House” by Doug Fincher

November 16, 2020 - In 1946, Daddy moved our family to a rent house on Arcadia Road in Center, Texas. Behind the house was an old chicken house where our “Banty” chickens roosted every night. My brother John and I often crawled on top of it to swing on one of the two high line wires that ran to the house.

On this given day, John, my cousin Eddie Jean Watson and I were swinging on the bottom wire when John pulled the top wire together with the bottom one and immediately began shaking and making an unutterable sound. The high electric voltage held him froze to the wires as he shook erratically as he tried to loosen himself. When I grabbed him around the waist, the high voltage literally slammed me down backwards on the tin roof. Quickly jumping back up, I grabbed John again and was shocked down.

Daddy worked on a construction job out of town and came home only on weekends. And for some reason, he just happened to be home that day and was standing at the back gate. When he saw us, he raced out and made an unbelievable leap to the top of the chicken house. Quickly grabbing John by his overall galluses, he snatched John from the electric lines. John lay moaning for several minutes and continued to shake when we got to the house.

As I look back at that day, I am convinced that we did not know the danger of swinging on the wire and I certainly know my parents did not see us doing it. But I am still in wonderment on the fact that Daddy “happened to be home” and “happened to see John’s situation” and was fleet-footed enough to save John. I figured that my brother would always stay far away from electricity the rest of his life, but not so. He has always done much of his electrical work and is a pretty good electrician. And the only one that stayed so afraid of electricity … was me.