Yesterday was a very long day. We were set to spray the entire farm (99 acres) with herbicides. It would take three big tanks of the tank truck even starting at 7 am we wouldn’t finish till late afternoon.
We had an unexpected setback during the day, delaying us for hours. Hence, we didn’t complete the job, leaving 15 acres to do today and we didn’t finish working last night until 7 pm. Did I mention it was hot? (See the image below to see what I wear when I spray herbicides) After a shower and a store bought sandwich and doing all of my e-mail replies and late computer work … and being thoroughly exhausted I finally went to bed by 10 pm.
I was awoken at about 2:15 am by Caleb. He had gotten up to go to the bathroom and called out “mom, dad, it looks like a roadblock in front of the house. Sure enough as we looked out our bathroom window (which faces west) Pulaski Highway in front of our house was blocked with emergency vehicles and trucks and cars with flashing lights. But we didn’t see and evidence of a crash so we thought, maybe it was a literal roadblock. Could some escaped fugitive be heading our way?
I had to find out, so outside I went. I could see what looked like one police car and one ambulance. Two officials were talking to someone along the road, but I couldn’t make the person out from the distance. Closer to me were a group of civilians and I approached them. I quickly recognized my fantastic neighbor Diane Matuszewski (of the world famous Quaker Creek Store: http://www.quakercreekstore.com) I also saw her son Matt. I asked her, what’s up?
She said how a friend of her son’s was driving on Pulaski Highway after coming back from Quick Chek (my dinner source a few hours previous: http://www.qchek.com) and she happened to see a body half lying in the road.
Me: “Was he hit?”
Diane: “We weren’t sure. She called us over, someone else called 911. The scanner was saying a heart attack. He was half in the road, half to the side, and he didn’t appear to be breathing.”
Me: “Lucky he wasn’t hit.”
Diane: “I know. But the funny thing was he had his cell phone to his head, and his other hand was outstretched holding the cover. So, the EMT person took his pulse and it was extremely weak. Then, all of a sudden, he stood up and started talking.”
Me: “Who is he?”
Diane: “He’s a Mexican farmworker, said his name is Mario.”
Me: “MARIO? He works for me, my main man for the last 7 years. Holy crap!”
I turned behind me and could see the lights for my farmworker housing. Oh, crap. But as I walked closer, much to my relief, I could see it wasn’t the same Mario. Thank God.
Diane: “I asked him if he was drunk and he said no. But he has to be drunk. Do you recognize him?”
Me: “No, I don’t.”
As I got closer I could hear the Warwick Town cop and the EMT guy questioning him. They were insisting he had to go tot he hospital to be checked out. As one of the other EMTs took him to the ambulance I asked them what he said. He told them something about he was drinking down the road and works for the Koreans and lives somewhere along Pulaski Highway. I told them I didn’t think the Koreans had housing for their workers. They said he lives like a 20 minute walk from where he was drinking. He told them he was drinking at the Farmworker Community Center, known as the Alamo, but I told them that is impossible, they don’t allow that there and they close early on Saturdays.
Before they took him into the ambulance he said he was “walking with his amigo” who is somewhere around here. The cop starting shining a flashlight in the brush along the highway. We all started peering into the grass along the road. We didn’t see any signs of anyone, so either his friend just left him to sleep it off in the road, had passed out at a different section of the road or never had a friend with him to begin with. What was amazing was this guy had to be stone cold drunk yet he wasn’t bobbing or weaving at all, but was standing straight as an arrow.
We all agreed that he was lucky to still be alive. people do not typically obey the speed limit of 45 mph on Pulaski Highway (http://youtu.be/JqHW4VUk3o0), especially on the stretch by my house, and at 55 mph or faster you would probably not be able to see him in time to avoid him, from where he was passed out. Though Pulaski Highway is a very heavily traveled road the entire time this whole incident played out, which was 45 minutes or so, only a couple of vehicles came by and had to turn around or wait to pass thru.
Diane and I told what happened to our neighbor Mike and his daughter, then we parted ways to head back to bed … after laughing over the whole situation.
Once again our favorite phrase on the farm came to mind … you can’t make this sh*t up.