I find myself apologizing again. There is so much going on here at the ranch…and I am grateful for every minute of it! Let me keep writing from where I left off after we had just kind of sorted out the encounter with the two teenage Ninjas.
A twenty minute walk later, two security checkpoints, and a warm glow from the main house I was sitting in the sitting room face-to-face with who they called the “patriarch” of the combined families. He was an old guy, 80+ years old if he was a day, he was a Tanner…and they are all Mormons.
Ashley was nowhere to be found during my interrogation. No one tried to disarm me, or even asked for my guns, when I entered the house. But, I was in a room full of no-nonsense men all armed. There were two beefy guys behind me, even though I never looked, no doubt guns at the ready. I wouldn’t have even got my hand on my pistol or raised my AR and I would have been dead, bleeding out on their nice rug, in a very comfortable room.
Another hour later and they bought my whole story. Twice an older woman came in and whispered into the patriarch’s ear. I am sure it was information gleaned from Ashley verifying my story. Or, I was hoping it was verifying my story. Even with the hard-cases around me they had a certain “feel” to them. No doubt these men would kill me in a heartbeat to protect their home, or exact revenge if they had thought I had hurt Ashley. But I also felt safe…as funny, or weird, as that may sound.
Three women came in and announced the food was ready. I was invited into their dining room. I really should call it their “mess hall” because it was so large. There had to be thirty people in there to eat breakfast. It was 5am.
Most everyone went to a seat like they owned them, I was looking around where I might sit. “Here Tom! Here!” I recognized Ashley’s voice immediately. She was pushing some teenage girl out of a seat next to her while hollering at me. Yeah, I headed that way. She got up and ran to me throwing her arms around my waist.
“You brought me home! I knew you would do it. Those three men told me you would and you did!”
One of the older men, not the patriarch, looked at me, “You have some more explaining to do mister. What three men?”
I ignored him, took my seat next to Ashley, and started to grab a couple of biscuits off the plate. Ashley poked me in the side and told me to wait until they blessed the food. Obviously that little brat had no idea how good those biscuits smelled.
About ten minutes later one of the teenage girls sitting nearby asked what that horrible smell was. Ashley, never breaking stride with her breakfast, “Him!” as she pointed to me. “His feet stink really bad and they look like dog poop.” Everyone laughed…everyone but me.
An older woman joined in, “Sir, right after we are done eating I’ll look at those feet of yours. Finish up quick, the stench is bad.” Another round of laughter…everyone but me. I didn’t like them making fun of my smell, they didn’t know that my feet were dying from some kind of plague.
Not long after the sun had come up I found myself in the care of three very capable women. The one that spoke to me at the breakfast table, another slightly younger, and then a teenage girl, maybe 14, that was doing most of the work.
They had taken my boots off, peeled off my socks, soaked my feet in Epsom salts, and then washed my feet in hot water with soap. Then came the scrubbing…I think the soap was called Phisohex surgical soap. They used a soft bristle brush. Soft or not, it still hurt…stung actually. Then they had me soak my feet in more Epsom salts. They asked me how long I had had the ingrown toenail. I didn’t know what they were talking about. The oldest woman pointed out both my large toes and how the nails were growing in, curling in, and cutting into the skin. I couldn’t give them a real answer, I never paid much attention. They clipped my toe nails, and scrubbed some more, and then soaked them some more.
No, this was no spa treatment, I thought the worst was yet to come. I was right. They brought a guy in, maybe later twenties. He said he had been a “medic” in Iraq. He had seen feet like mine before…the nails had to be cut. Not just cut…cut drastically along each side to get the nail from curling to my skin. He said it would hurt bad. The second to oldest women gave him this really stern and ugly look. That brought out the pledge to use some of their Lidocaine on me to help with the pain. They would do the surgery the next morning. “Surgery?”
They gave me some antibiotics that came from a bottle that had some printing on it…something about fish. Then they told me to go get some rest, I was going to need it. And that is where I’m at now…ready to go to bed…in a real bed…in a real house…safe and secure.
At least I hope I’m safe.
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