National Farm Safety Week is in, uh, September, me thinks. Ok, it is quite a while away I know, but someone recently told me they would like to enter me in the contest to be the poster boy for this event. I have a face made for radio, partially due to genetics but largely due to a history of farm facial accidents.

As a youngster at, say, training pants age, Dad was babysitting and decided to take me to the field, ride in his lap and rake hay. The power unit was a non-power steering WC Allis. As he held me in his lap, I fell asleep (a trait I still exhibit on a regular basis) and slumped forward into the steering wheel. As he reached to grab me, the wheel spun, as those with this experience know, and my nose acted like a baseball card in a bicycle wheel spokes. One has to be old to know that as well.

As he returned to the house with my face a bloody mess, he was met by mom, who had returned home early, and screamed, "You have killed my baby!" Well not exactly, but it does give credence that I "cut my teeth on a tractor" (actually, back at an age of almost 2, my uncle gave me a pedal tractor he bartered from a McCormick exec and while I was too young to ride it, I did turn it over and gnaw on the tires).  

A few years later, we were building a tobacco barn. My dad was using a hatchet to cinch nails that were too long, came through the door at the bottom and posed a safety threat. I looked over his shoulder to see what progress he was making and, presto: on the back stroke, he almost chopped off my nose. "My gawd," yelled a neighbor, "You done kilt your boy!" This was my first of many trips to an emergency room. My dad's residence, the doghouse, was enlarged. Well, they sewed my nose back on — kind of crooked — and asked if I was OK. They told me I replied, "I want to go back to the 'backer bern.'" I now had a distinct nasal tone.

A few decades later, I was struck in the face with a sledge hammer, which resulted in 16 stitches, that the eyebrows nicely covered — when they grew out. Then after an ice storm, we were removing downed trees from the fields when I happened to release a pinned "widow maker" tree. My loader tractor relieved the built-up torsion and the freed limb swept across the tractor I was driving and just like a baseball bat hitting a home run, almost took my head off. Broke the nose, some bones and dislocated and broke the jawbone. Teeth kind of wiggled in their socket as well.

So, in my reserved ER room they sewed me back up, set my nose, pulled out about a dozen splinters (they did not get them all) and set the jaw. My nose is now perfectly straight, a process I do not recommend for fixing a crooked snout.

Then, about a year later, a side grinder disc exploded and sent a silver dollar sized-piece through the skin and under that high cheek bone muscle I used to possess. They turned on the light of my room in the ER again and pulled out the grinding rock and about 90% of the shrapnel. I get Christmas presents from the hospital each year. They think I am on staff, I stay there so much. Anyway, you should hear the other near misses, but that is for another day. 

My little brother, Dr. Tony Brannon, retired dean of Agriculture at Murray State Univ., also is in the running for this poster boy position but can't hold a candle to yours truly. I took him to the ER and let him borrow my room to repair entanglement in a grain auger PTO shaft when he was 12 and then again, a few years later, when he stuck a finger in the disc transport lockup hole to see why the pin would not go in. He then had the guillotine maneuver performed on the middle finger.  I know what you are saying, the Brannon Brothers are tough but not too bright, but we catch on quick (the title of his upcoming book).

Now, what does all this personal stuff have to do with running a dealership you ask?

Actually nothing, but a column was due, and uh, oh yeah, we all should prepare early and promote National Farm Safety Week this September or whenever it is!

'Til next time, my guardian angel and I are wishing you all miles of smiles and profits. And whenever the picture pops up, you will know why the face is not male model material ( I learned alliteration at Murray State).

Maybe the Lessiter group will pop for some photo shop bucks to make the mug look statelier (some smart one will say they already did).

Told from the perspective of an in-the-trenches owner/operator — Tim Brannon of B&G Equipment, Paris, Tenn. —  Equipment Dealer Tips, Tales & Takeaways shares knowledge, experiences and tips/lessons with fellow rural equipment dealerships throughout North America. Covering all aspects required of an equipment dealership general manager, Brannon will inform, entertain and provide a teachable moment for current — and future — leaders within equipment dealerships.



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