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Duck, Henry, Duck!!

Rick Mansfield

It started innocently enough.  The presentation going well.  Had a modest audience of around three-dozen people listening to my recreation of Henry R. Schoolcraft.  Part of the Old Greenville Days celebration, I emphasizing the fact that Schoolcraft had taken the Bettis Ferry a half-mile from the remnants of the original Greenville Courthouse where I was standing.

I had just come to the part where Schoolcraft had asked the ferryman if he could have change for his silver half-dollar.  The gentleman had replied “Sure!  The Kentucky way!” and then proceeded to take his camp-axe and placing the metal coin on an oak stump, cut it in two.

I was replicating this part of the adventure.  Down to the camp-axe, the coin and the oak stump.  This time; actually, a piece of wood brought from our home in Ellington.  After finally removing the axe from its leather holster, I swung it towards the coin.  Pierced the metal cleanly.  And thus, the problems began.

Now, according to the plaintiff’s lawyers (or at least one set); the “dangerously sharp piece of shrapnel” bounced off the young man’s knee (ironically already in a brace) “producing immeasurable physical trauma.”  Immeasurable as in cannot be measured.  Funny, the law firm had measured a figure with a LOT of zeroes.

The “shrapnel” had then proceeded to “smash into the innocent head” of the gentleman’s girlfriend.  Causing “suffering and distress” to her emotional well-being.  Lawyers estimated that it “could be years before she could work again.”  Forget she had not worked for the past several.

That was coin piece one.  The other piece, flying off in the opposite direction, was easier to track.  That piece’s “path of destruction” was easier to follow; far more difficult to refute.  The audience member’s eye was obviously (and somewhat grossly) gone.  Whole new set of lawyers.  Real Dracula types!

Now, doing presentations generally for free does not show much of a profit.  Leaves little money for Liability Insurance.  So, my lawyers sought out co-defendants.  In truth, Blazer Boats had just that morning designed and manufactured the soon to be dismembered (poor word choice?) metal coins.  Used 100 gauge (according to plaintiffs—the really “lethal stuff”) for the presentation props.

Now, Blazer being a sound business and themselves having smart legal counsel, turned to the young man that had actually manufactured the coins.  Management claimed that poor young James had “not followed proper coin construction protocol.”  Seems the boat he had just purchased was now in limbo as collateral for Jame’s own personal lawyer.

Being interested in management someday himself, James immediately showed leadership potential.  He advised his personal lawyer that the tig-welder that had filled in the hole in the hole-sawn coin had done so “with absolutely no thought of the aerodynamic changes to particle flight patterns” and hence was much more responsible for the subsequent tragedies.

Now, I can see this taking years to resolve.  I only hope that in the meantime, James at least has use of his new boat.  I still highly recommend Blazer as a boat manufacturer; James as a good friend and all-around good person.  Not sure about the tig-guy.

Blazer remains the major financial supporter of our non-profit Ozark Heritage Project.  River cleanups.  Flood victim recovery and rescue.  Artifact restoration.  Cultural preservations.  Historical presentations.  Prop construction?

Well, that last one is temporarily on hold.  Following my own legal counsel; currently cannot say why.  Nor, apparently, can Blazer.  Nor can young James, who remains “hostile and uncooperative.”  The tig-guy; well, he’s talking.  Just nothing I can repeat.  Thanks for joining us! 

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