Written by- Kyler Hymas
A wheel is defined as a circular frame of hard material that may be solid, partly solid, or spoked and that is capable of turning on an axle. The word “wheel” has a Germanic origin and comes from the Old English word “hwéol”. The idea of wheeled transportation came about in the year 3500 BC where it came from the use of logs for rollers, according to an article published by Britannica. The first spoke wheels people used in chariot races around 2000 BC. Since then, people have used wheels for pottery, for lifting water in irrigation, for transportation, and all sorts of other things. All my life I have overlooked the value of wheels and how they have had an impact on me and my family.
My dad built his own landscaping business. 42 hardworking employees worked for him. He worked long and exhausting hours day in and day out. Regardless of the huge amount of stress that accompanied owning a business, my father always seemed to make time for us kids and my mom. After working tirelessly all day long, he came home to take care of the Elk. That usually consisted of getting on the old, rusty, yellow case tractor with a bucket attached to the front loader. He used this to scoop up the square hay bale that weighed over 2,000 lbs. to feed the elk. My dad always dreamed of raising elk from a young age. We lived on 250 acres in a little town in the middle of nowhere with no gas stations, stores, or anything else within 25-30 miles. We loved every bit of the country. Nothing compared to waking up to beautiful, peaceful sunrises with the wind bristling through the tall and old pine trees.
At one year old with my brother two years older, the day started out as normal. My dad left to take care of a job on a site about an hour away. As the time approached 2:00, it happened! I took my very first baby steps! Full of excitement, my mother grabbed the phone and with enthusiasm in her voice called to tell my dad. “Kyler just took his first steps!” She exclaimed. “No way!” He replied back. “I will head home shortly!” Excitement filled my dad’s emotion! He finished work and rushed home! With a sense of urgency that filled the flesh of his body, he hastily drove home at a high speed. My dad knew how to drive at incredibly high speeds without getting tickets. On his way home, he stopped to feed our elk before it got dark. He got on the old yellow case tractor and started it up. As he prepared to scoop the square hay bale from the top of the stack, he noticed a red warning light go off on the tractor. The tractor needed hydraulic oil. Choosing to ignore the warning light, he lifted up the bale of hay and as he did so, the 2,000 lb. square bale of hay rolled with force onto my dad’s body which broke his neck and severed his spinal cord. With it getting dark, my mom with worry and anxiety rushing through her body, grabbed us kids and drove up to the elk field. When my mom found the tractor with the hay bale on it, she frantically opened the car door, rushed over to the tractor as fast as her legs allowed her, and turned it off. With no phone in her pocket, she rushed home and called for help. 12 minutes later an ambulance arrived and with no time to wait for a crane, 8 men in all, cowboys, firefighters, first responders, and police officers did the impossible. They mustered together all of their strength and lifted the 2,000 lb. bale of hay straight off my dad. As they lifted the bale off of my dad’s body, he collapsed to the ground.
The first responders stabilized him and found that they needed to call in life support. They flew him to a hospital in Salt Lake where the doctors worked tirelessly to try and repair the damage that he sustained, but they had no success. A few long weeks later my dad awoke from a coma in the ICU to receive news that he lost all movement and function of his legs. A week or so later they transferred him to a rehab facility where he worked to regain enough strength to help with mobility. In this rehab facility is where I saw my dad for the first time since his accident. Because of my young age, I did not fully understand at the time what just happened to my dad a few weeks prior. For the next couple weeks, we spent time with my dad in the rehab facility as he became familiar with how to use a wheelchair. Two months passed and he finally came home. Those wheels became my dad’s saving grace. Although he may not ever walk again in this life, that does not stop him from reaching his goals and contributing to society. His wheels give him his freedom! 20 years later and I now watch as my dad travels the world every year lifting, inspiring, and motivating others through his difficult circumstance! What others saw as a limitation, through wheels on a wheelchair has become one of his biggest and most rewarding blessings in disguise.
According to History.com, Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot built the first steam powered vehicle in 1769 which consisted of three wheels that traveled at a velocity of 2.25 mph. The front wheel functioned as the steering and driving mechanism. The vehicle allowed four passengers on board and Nicolas needed to stop every 15 minutes to regain enough power to again move forward.
In 1886, two inventors— Karl Friedrich Benz and Gottlieb Daimler invented the first 2 automobiles. Karl Benz combined his internal combustion engine with an integrated chassis and Daimler invented a motorized carriage which became the first four-wheeled vehicle with a gasoline engine.
I’ll never forget the time we spent in the mountains. Excitement poured out of my little body as we approached the canyon after a two-hour long drive. I knew we were almost there because 65 mile per hour roads turned to 45 mile per hour roads due to the curves going back and forth. They often made me dizzy as a young child, but now I withstood them. As we approached the 10-foot-tall gate to enter the property our eyes widened with amazement. We sat there looking through the canyon in awe. The view never seemed to get old even with how many times we previously come. Looking up the canyon over the tall trees we often saw wildlife graze over the mountain tops. Trees of all sorts surrounded as we slowly drove up the bumpy dirt road that led to camp. Finally, the 2 hours had passed and we made it. Not seconds after arriving, my brother and I hopped out of the car and booked it for the side by side. We both wrestled as we fought for the steering wheel. Immediately we headed out for the countless trails that took us through the different terrains of the mountain! Dad always loved to sit in the side by side. When it came time to get my dad in the side by side, I grabbed under his knees while my two-year older brother went under his arm pits and grabbed his wrists. Together we picked him up and moved him over to the side by side. Nothing compared to the cool breeze that bristled through the trees and caused them to rock back and forth. The chilling breeze often turned a scorching hot day into a cool day that we handled with no problems. The rpm’s moving up and down as rocks smashed into our wheels causing us to jolt back and forth. The dust particles often caused our eyes to water as we raced through the soft dirt. We knew those mountains like the back of our hand. We had visited there countless times before. We only saw a few elk in the first couple of hours, nothing big enough to shoot. The time approached for us to travel back to camp for dinner.
Grandpa always stayed back to cook. Juicy tender elk burgers cooked with a special sauce, Grandmas macaroni shrimp salad, and the juiciest black seed watermelons made dinner perfect. Cold ice lemonade finished the delicious meal off. After dinner we rushed back out. My kind older brother let me drive this time. “There one is!!” I exclaimed. “It looks like a big one!” My dad replied. We didn’t know for sure until we got the spotting scope out. As we got the scope out and looked through the tiny lens, I noticed something! “He is a monster bull elk!” I screamed with excitement. “Go for it!” he told me. “You don’t want to pass up one that big!” As I got my scope on the bull, my heart began to pump faster than it ever had before! My hands started to shake and nerves started to increase. With all the eyes on me, I took a deep breath and counted to three and then slowly pulled the trigger. I hit just low and back from the shoulder. I reloaded and took another shot. This time straight through the lungs! The bull dropped immediately! The nerves settled and smiles began to form! The smile on my dad’s face said it all! The drive to the elk consisted of 200 plus yards up hill. By the time we got there, the sun had already started to set behind the mountain. Darkness came fast but that didn’t stop us from getting the elk off the mountain! It took a couple of hours but we made it back to camp! As we continued through the evening, the smell of nature filled our noses. The sound of crickets filled the air and the bright stars lit up the night as though the sun had not hidden its face. It felt as though time slowed down in the moment as we slowly made our way back to camp. Tomorrow my brother had his opportunity to get one! The weekend came to a close and we packed up to get ready to leave! Those couple days in the mountains with my family will continually fill my mind as I grow older in age. On our way back home, I reflected on the experiences that just taken place. Many times I have overlooked how wheels have impacted my life. Wheels on the side by side, wheels on the Ford F-350 black truck that took us to the canyon, and the wheels on the trailer that helped us get the elk off the mountain. Without wheels, these miraculous adventures did not seem possible.
When the word “wheel” is used as a verb, it can also mean to change or reverse one’s opinion, attitude, or course of action.This idea of the word wheel first came about in the year 1632. This idea of the word “wheel” is not commonly used throughout the world today.
At the age of 18 years old, though young, I made a choice to serve a mission for my church. It required me to leave my family for two years to go to small remote islands in the Pacific Ocean. Nothing prepared me for what happened next. The moment the plane landed; excitement filled my body. The islands beauty cultivated my mind with awe. Tall green banana trees surrounded my location. The ocean stretched far beyond my brown eyes view. The waves beat upon the rocky beaches. I never saw anything like it before. Culture shock soon overcame my young age. It came time for me to see the location of my new house. As the door opened, tiny cockroaches crawled across the tile squares, and I didn’t help but notice the large pile of dishes that overflowed the dirty sink. My bed not much bigger than a twin size did not fit my 6’3 height. Minutes after arriving, two other men came to the house to show us around the island. One main road went clear around the outer part of the island. With a speed limit of 20 mph, we often swerved to miss the large pot holes filled with dirty rain water. I never saw third world country like this before. Though the island always surrounded me with its much beauty, the way of living completely changed from back home. Their houses made of concrete foundations with four wood pillars as the corner posts. The outsides often consisted of tin and wood. They used a specific kind of leaf to make the rooves for their houses. Months passed by and my assignment changed. I left that island and went to an even less developed island.
As the plane landed, I felt as if the plane almost overpassed the runway due to its size. Thankfully, to the much-experienced pilot, we landed safely on the main island of Chuuk. To get to the island where they had assigned me, we took a small boat with a motor attached to the back. Fearing for my life, I held on to the edges of the boat as we crashed through the humongous waves. Gloomy clouds filled the air and the smell of salt water rushed through my nose. 45 minutes later after beating through many waves, we approached the island. Excited that we had finally reached the island, I jumped out of the boat, almost falling on my face! Right off the bat, I noticed that the way of living completely changed from the island I had just come from. No electricity, no running water, no comfortable bed to sleep in, or no normal shower to name just a few of the different things. As the night came closer, the sun settled over the water which brought a bright orangish yellow reflection on top of the water which words can’t describe. With tiny flashlights as our only source of light through the night, we sometimes saw big cockroaches through the corner of our eyes. Catching us by surprise, we often let out a frightful squeal. We tried many times to kill them, but they always seemed to regain life! I strongly disliked those things. They creeped me out!
That night I slept awful, probably the worst I’d slept in a long time. I slept on the hard floor and used a life jacket as my pillow. I fell asleep to the sound of nature. The sound of little critters moving through the night, the breeze that entered through the chicken fence windows, and the rain drops hitting puddles of water just outside of the house. In the morning, my eyes grew heavy due to the lack of sleep the night prior. We cooked ramen noodles for breakfast with a portable gas stove. I always enjoyed mine with some spicy sriracha sauce to go with it! Afterwards, with no running water, it came time for bucket showers. A huge container gathered all of the rain water from the night prior. We took turns as we showered using a bucket. Warm showers did not ever happen! To get drinking water, we used a special kind of pump that filtered all of the bad minerals out of the water. As time went on my view completely changed. It came as a complete shock and completely opened my eyes. My output on life changed, the way of living, what I have, as well as other things. I had always overlooked the simple things that not everyone is fortunate enough to have. It made me feel so grateful for all of the things that we have here in the states that we often take for granted. This experience completely changed my opinion and my attitude on so many things from that time on. The idea of a physical wheel or the idea of changing/reversing an opinion or attitude has had a huge impact on my life!