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The Dart: Natchez man has ‘Nine Lives and Counting’

NATCHEZ — When The Dart hit the map near the home of James Carl Yeatman on North Hampton Road, he was just happy to be alive — especially after having faced more than nine-near-death-experiences and counting.

“You’re looking at a dead man walking and don’t even know it,” Yeatman said.

Yeatman, 70, formerly of Longview, Texas, has lived in Natchez with his wife Barbara Gordon for two years after retiring as CEO of Consolidated Oil & Gas, Inc in Texas, but he has worn many hats in his career, he said.

Yeatman said he has worked in construction, designed mining equipment and recently authored a book about his life experiences called “Nine Lives and Counting.”

Throughout his life, Yeatman said he has battled a cottonmouth snake with a bucket on a berry picking venture, nearly crashed a plane during flying lessons, performed a balancing act over Crater Lake in Oregon, was nearly scooped up by a tornado while fishing on Washington Lake near Greenville, was nearly hit by a car while hiking in Mexico and was scalped by the door of his attic on New Year’s Eve.

Yeatman said the contents of his book — published in 2017 by Innovo Publishing, LLC — are only a portion of the bizarre experiences he has been through.

“I have many other stories in my lifetime that people would not believe,” Yeatman said. “That book entails nine stories of near-death-experiences during my lifetime so far. Since then I’ve had a couple more.”

Ten years ago, Yeatman said he experienced a sensation like “thousands of bees stinging” his chest, Yeatman wrote in his book.

“I had three major arteries 100-percent blocked on the back side of my heart,” Yeatman said. “The doctors gave me two alternatives. … They gave me two days to live or get some stints put in.”

Yeatman said his heart might have been blocked on one side for 10 to 15 years without his knowing it. Doctors have affirmed that he should be dead, Yeatman said.

“(Knowing that) makes me get up every morning and thank God I’m still alive,” he said.

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