Popped open a can of shoestring potatoes and whoosh! My way-back machine took me to Muncie, Indiana, 1953. I was home for the summer between my freshman and sophomore years. Gainful employment was paramount in my list of priorities for if I was ever to realize a second year of college I had to get money. I found work at the Butterfield cannery on the east side of town. I had to get up quite early because I had to clock in before six and it took me about twenty minutes to make the walk from home.
Butterfield was totally consumed with the tomato pack once that crop started to come in and the hours at work stretched out to fourteen. When not canning tomatoes, though, we canned potatoes and one of the more popular products was shoestring potatoes. And with good reason. Yum! This product was especially delectable when one could grab a hot can off the line, pop it open and eat 'em while they were still hot.
My duties entailed a number of tasks, everyone being expected to step into various stations as the need arose. One of these assignments was to jam an empty carton onto the boxing machine, trip the trigger, and receive the laden box, fold down the flaps tape it, and stack it on a pallet. Repeat. Repeatedly.
One afternoon I triggered and the machine jammed. I removed the box and realigned the cans but with both hands still against a row of cans my foot hit the trigger. The bar which pushes the cans came down-- instantly-- across both my wrists and I was pinned. While waiting for the mechanic to release my arms I was imagining that I had just lost not one but both my hands, and I only nineteen years of age. What a sad future I envisioned.
Freed I found that while there were deep creases across both wrists the skin had not been broken and I was still intact. Physically, anyway.