The Summer of the Pitchfork

by Quinn Berry

This was the summer before my sophomore year of high school, so about four or five years ago. I was out in my backyard digging holes to plant apple trees. Although the trees we were going to plant weren’t my favorite (Red Delicious is obviously the best choice, considering it has the word “delicious” in the name), I wasn’t going to argue with trees that provided apples without making a trip to the store. What I was a bit upset about was the fact that I had to dig the holes on my own. Being not the smartest 15-year-old, I decided to start digging the holes only a couple hours before my mom would get home to inspect the spots for the trees and then take me to my baseball game. Another genius move on my part was to wear flip flops for this endeavor, as putting on socks that would just get all sweaty seemed pointless.

I set out to dig the holes for the trees. It was the middle of summer, so the ground was decently soft and easy to dig through for about six inches. Unfortunately, our house and yard must have been built on top of an old riverbed because there were tons of small pebbles and large rocks under the dirt. Trying to dig through this layer of sediment was frustrating and exhausting, and I could smell my own sweat soon enough. So I made my third and final intelligent decision of the day: I would dig the holes with a pitchfork, because that had to be an easier way to grab the rocks.

I finished the first hole easily enough, simply tugging the dirt towards me and out of the ground. But soon I got stuck on the second hole. For some reason, the grass on the top layer of dirt had decided it was stronger than a teenager armed with a pitchfork and refused to budge. I couldn’t believe it. Instead of trying a different way of going about this, I merely got angry and started pulling harder on the pitchfork. Ever so slowly, the dirt mound began to tear away from the grass keeping it stuck in place. In a split second, everything went sideways.

The pitchfork managed to slip off the pile of dirt, and one of the prongs poked me on my left foot, between my big toe and the one just next to it. I howled in pain and rage for a good few minutes. I let loose with every curse and obscenity I knew, and I couldn’t care less if my neighbors heard me. I was furious with myself for doing this and furious at the pitchfork for hurting me and I just screamed for a while. It seemed to help. When I looked down at my foot, I noticed something wasn’t right. There was a big black mark where the pitchfork hit me and I looked at it for a second, just thinking it was dirt and starting to wipe it off. Some of the dirt wiped off but most of it didn’t. That was when I realized it wasn’t dirt.

It was a hole.

I froze. I looked more carefully at the wound and while it was mostly black around it, there was a bit that looked white. A bit that looked like bone.

I panicked. There wasn’t any pain other than the initial pain from the injury, and that had mostly faded. I hobbled inside, called my mom and told her I stabbed my foot with a pitchfork, and then sat down and waited. There still wasn’t any pain, and that was what scared me the most. I figured I was in shock. While I was waiting around for my mom to come home, I looked around and realized that I hadn’t done the dishes. That had been on the top of my chore list for the day, and pots and pans were still sitting in the sink, filthy as could be. I quickly stumbled over to the sink and washed the dishes, still worrying about my foot and the hole I had put in it with the pitchfork.

I managed to finish washing up about five minutes before my mom came home; by then the hole in my foot had started to slowly ooze blood. My mom filled up a big pot full of water and had me soak my foot in that for 20 minutes or so while the dirt that been jammed in dislodged itself and floated to the surface. We were short on cash at the time and decided not to go the emergency room, especially with my ball game in an hour or so. My mom cleaned the wound as best she could, wrapped my foot in gauze, and dropped me off at the ballfields. My foot eventually started to ache from all the running and throwing, and I didn’t exactly pitch my best game that night.

To this day I still haven’t consulted a doctor about the injury. My mom and I have told all our friends, but we kept it a secret from doctors. Luckily, my foot has remained injury-free since then and it still works perfectly fine, although swimming for the high school swim team in the fall did seem to lead to more foot cramps than usual. The scar is mostly faded by now, although it’s still clear where it happened if you know what to look for.


  • Gabriellle Pierce

    Reading this and knowing it was a first hand experience for you seems intense, you plunged a pitch fork into your foot! You created and unintentional hole from the rest. Your story makes me hurt for you, although I am thrilled to know that you didn’t lose your foot to some weird infection since you never saw a doctor. Sounds like you mom did the right thing in letting your foot soak in the water, and made sure that nothing infected it.

    Your story telling style is good as well, it is easier to tell a first hand story than it is others, at least personally i think so. you thrived with that. your phrases like “but we kept it secret from the doctor” made me chuckle. As well as “It was a hole” standing on its own was a very good style choice, gave more of a shock factor.

  • Kami

    This was such a great and tragic story. My dad split his middle toe bones in half with a pitchfork as a child and it is now wider than his other foot. This is told really well. I saw it coming from when you said flip flops. I think we have all done something like this at some point and not gone to the doctor.

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