And now you’ll read the rest of the story continued from yesterday. My dad’s chewing tobacco story:
As the tobacco began to get soft in my mouth, Dad came around to where I was and said, “Hal, you see all those cattle there across the fence? I want you to go over there and drive that herd into the corral at the headquarters near the house.” I could see our three story house at the top of the hill about a mile away. I was really enjoying myself, chewing and spitting, and trying to get the cattle to begin to graze towards headquarters. But some cows would go back around to my right. I would walk over to the right and drive them back to the herd, but then part of those on the left would start back. So I was spending my time going east and west instead of north toward the house. I was getting annoyed, as I was sure those cattle were doing it on purpose!
But I was still enjoying my tobacco. That’s the first time I had ever put half a plug in my mouth at once. It was beginning to get big, and I had to spit quite often. Suddenly, three or four cows to my right decided to turn back again, and that really made me mad. This time I ran as hard as I could toward them with rocks in my hand. But I stumbled and fell, and when I did . . . , I swallowed the tobacco. In a few minutes those cows began to look to me like they were about the size of ants. And the three story house a mile away looked like a little doll house. I don’t know how I ever got to the house.
I woke up very sick at my stomach, in my parent’s bed in their bedroom downstairs. The room was dark, and my mother was sitting beside me. Dad came in, and I heard him tell Mother he thought I was going to die. That really scared me, though I tried not to show it. When they left the room, I became very religious. I prayed to God, begging Him to save my life. It occurred to me that I had better show God I was serious about what I was asking, so I told Him if he would save me from dying, I would not chew tobacco any more.
In the morning when I woke up, the sun was high in the sky. I was thrilled to realize I was still alive! Pretty soon they let me get out of bed, though I was very weak. But I want to tell you this: I thanked God very sincerely for saving my life, and I have kept my promise not to ever chew tobacco again. (I did start smoking. I smoked an occasional cigar until I was eighteen, but I didn’t promise God I wouldn’t smoke, just that I wouldn’t chew.)