Dr. Rodney T. Hard

Grandpa Hard's house in Red Hook.  Sterling is third from right with bandage on his forehead.

Rodney, Gregory, Gwendolyn, and Nelson.  Baby Greg Hard about the age he fell off the roof overhang onto his head.

Sterling standing on left at the swim hole where he bumped his head.

Later at Aunt Violet's house Sterling sports a large bandage.

                           HARD HEADS

By:  Dr. Rodney T. Hard 

When Sterling was five years old, before leaving for Korea, we were visiting our grandparents, Ernest and Anne Hard.  Grandpa Hard ran a large apple orchard in Red Hook, New York.  My father was the oldest of ten kids so we had lots of aunts and uncles of which several still lived at home and worked in the orchards. 

Sterling was always ready to jump into water.   The creek outside had a small pooled water area that was perfect for jumping in and cooling off in it.  Every day after his post lunchtime nap, Sterling would run outside and jump into the creek.  One day, while he was napping, several of his uncles dammed up the creek so that it filled up with water much deeper than usual.

When little Sterling ran out and jumped in, he went down deep with the water over his head.  He came up wide-eyed and sputtering for air.  His uncles had a good laugh. 

Five years later while visiting the grandparents, we went swimming down the road from the orchards where the stream had a deep pooled area that was a favorite local swim hole.  Sterling dove right in without first exploring the depth.  He came to the surface with blood all over his face.  He knew he had bumped his head but had no idea that he had a big gash that ended up needing stitches. 

When I was four years old, we left for the mission field in Korea by cargo ship.  Going across the Pacific we encountered rough seas and stormy weather the whole way there. 

When the ship was rolling severely from side to side, Sterling and I entertained ourselves by trying to stand upright in the hallways by leaning into the rolls.  It seemed that the ship would tilt so far that while still on my feet, my face would sometimes come fairly close to the floor. Well, I lost my footing once as I tipped beyond my balance point and banged my head into the corner of a door frame.  I ended up getting stitches over my eyebrow from one of the crewman who had some medical training for just such emergencies.

Having arrived and settled in Korea, my parents had three more children, Gwendolyn, Nelson, and Gregory.  The youngest, Gregory, loved to climb as any kid would in their terrible twos.  

One day he somehow got up onto the flat overhang that jutted out under the roof and over the windows.  He was crawling along the edge when Sterling saw him fall about eight feet straight down onto his head.  He sat right up and looked dazed.

Sterling rushed him inside and our parents examined him and kept an eye on him the rest of the day and all through the night to see if there were any danger signs that might appear.  Greg suffered no injuries of which we are aware.  

The guardian angels were working overtime with us hard headed kids, and by God’s grace, we all made it safely through childhood.