Returning from delivering potatoes to Crookwell, I was dozing when we reached the end of the lane and only half awake when Dad called "Whoa there:" and got down to open the gate into our home paddock.
He led the team through the gate and stopped them, then went back to shut the gate.
I heard the clang of the Cyclone gate, followed by the jangle of chains as the wagon started and the team took off at the trot.
"Whoa there! Whoa Jack!" I heard Dad call and I was vaguely aware of his face at the nearside of the wagon as he tried to scramble aboard.
Then he disappeared as the wheels jolted over a rock.
I could hear Dad behind the wagon and knew there was something wrong.
"Whoa Jack. Whoa Star. Whoa Toby," I called as loud as my nervous voice would allow. I was very glad when the horses stopped, impatiently shaking their collars and chains.
I clambered down, almost tripping over in my stiff new boots, just as Dad limped up gasping for breath.
"Bloody back wheel ran over me," he gasped.
I shuddered with fright, but he climbed back on the wagon.
"You shoulda stopped them," he told me. "When something like that happens roar at them as a hard as you can and screw on the brake," he added screwing the brake half on.
The last short run had been too much for Jack. As soon as he had heard the gate slam he had taken off.
Dad had run forward to jump aboard, just as the wagon lurched over the rock and that threw him off balance.
The rear wheel ran over his leg but by a quirk of luck it bounced on the rock and that broke the full weight of the wagon as it ran over the leg, leaving it badly bruised but otherwise undamaged.
The accident left him stiff and sore but he got the team unyoked, then emptied a butt of chaff into the feeder for them before limping inside where he sat in front of the fire and rubbed his sore leg and ribs.
Mum had a bowl of hot soup ready and I gulped mine down hungrily.
It had been a long day, and an adventurous one for me.
Dad made light of the accident but Mother was very upset and worried.
We had a complete and blind faith in our parents. There was just no question of their being indestructible. We never questioned their powers of survival.
But when something like this occurred it made one realise just what could happen in the event of a sudden serious accident. What, I thought, if the wagon had run over his chest, or worse still his head?
It was unbearable to think of.
When something like this occurred it made one realise just what could happen in the event of a sudden serious accident. What, I thought, if the wagon had run over his chest, or worse still his head?
Mother also was well aware of the potential danger and must have had her own chilling thoughts.
"It's that horse that's the trouble," she said referring to Jack. "He's too headstrong and he upsets the others too."
"Yair, but he's work-strong too!" said Dad. "It's just his spirit that makes him a bit flighty at times. He'd make two of any other horse. All he needs is plenty of work - and he'll get that from now on."
"Well you'll have to be careful with him," said Mum.
They were both right. The horse was headstrong and at times took some handling but Dad reckoned he would be lost without Jack.
It's a wonder he was not smashed up somehow by Jack's shenanigans.
We had our falls and scrapes but fortunately they were free from serious injury or accidents - that is before Dad was smashed up in a trotting accident at Goulburn some years later.