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November story to remember

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November story to remember

Don Moffet recalls a harrowing day on the farm when he was only a junior in high school. His dad received serious injuries in this month’s Memory Lane feature.

Nov. 19, 1959 is a day Don Moffet can remember like it was yesterday.

He lived on the farm where he still lives today with his wife, Kairouan.

Back in 1959 he was a junior in high school. He and his father were feeding cattle, preparing to grind corn. They were just cleaning up around the elevator when Don noticed a pin that had come out of a slip-clutch on the grain elevator. The slip-clutch was more than a foot long, and weighed about 12-15 pounds.

As his dad was scooping up corn, the slip-clutch hit him on the side of the head and knocked him unconscious. Don laid his coat over him while he ran into the house to tell his mom to call for the ambulance.

When Don went back to his dad, he was up and leaning against the elevator. His dad not only broke the bones in his head, but he also popped one eye out of its socket and moved his teeth forward.

Don went to start his ‘56 Ford to take his dad to Wahpeton himself, but in his haste to get going, Don flooded the engine. He went to start an older vehicle, and they ended up taking that.

Don drove 120 mph to Wahpeton. Once they got into town, he lay on the horn, going 60 mph trying to get the attention of police for help, but it didn’t work. Finally, they arrived at the hospital, where they met a MASH surgeon.

Dr. Belts had served in the military prior to working at the Wahpeton hospital, and he popped his dad’s eye right back into its socket. He also made a cast out of a coat hanger and rubber tubing for his dad’s head.

Dr. Belts didn’t expect him to live through the night, but he did. He spent nine days in the hospital, and then he was released to go home.

Don’s father was 57 at the time of the accident, and lived to be 73.

The only physical change after this disaster was a crooked nose and a wider gap in his two front teeth.

A crazy thing about this story is that it happened on a Saturday morning, and Don’s mother had had a strange dream the night before. She dreamt that a lady’s husband had gotten in an accident and then hours later, her own husband got in an accident right on their farm.

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