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Monday, May 2, 2016

In the blink of an eye

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Hi neighbors. A week ago Thursday my son and I had traveled to Fort Scott to pick up a meal at Wendy's restaurant. On the way home an oncoming car flipped its headlights at us in warning, but we didn't have time to figure out what the warning was about.

A few yards past him we suddenly had to swerve off the road to keep from hitting a deer and ended up on the north side of the road nose down in an embankment. This all happened just west of Deerfield on U.S. Highway 54.

Either us or the deer had an angel on our shoulders because none of us were injured.

I still hardly remember the incident. It happened so fast! I wasn't driving and was looking out the passenger window when my son started turning the car toward the almost non-existent shoulder of the road. He then had to pull back onto the pavement as the shoulder practically ended into a culvert.

That turn spun us into a 360 circle that ended up with us heading in the right direction, but off the road on the wrong side.

Most people, including my son, would have been aware of what was going on while it happened. I only remember feeling a certain amount of force as the car spun, and then seeing a drab mountain of brush suddenly appearing in front of the car, seemingly filling the entire the windshield.

When the car finally stopped moving and I realized we were no longer gaily driving home, I asked my son, "What happened and where have we landed?" He then said, "We almost hit a deer, but we didn't. But, here we are sitting in a pile of trees and brush." The air bags didn't deploy and the seat belts did their jobs nicely. Bill had done a fine job driving as we were only coasting by the time we left the road for the trees. The car had rolled almost gently to a stop, resting on top of several small trees that had previously been cut down and piled up to be burned later no doubt.

Bill nor I received any injuries, not even any bruising from the seat belts as our attempt at free-fall had been in slow motion. The car, which had delivered us so safely through it all, had sustained a few minor scratches, lost the mirror on the driver's side and had a loud squeak when the driver's door opened. Other than that, all was well.

In another kind happenstance, the gentleman who had flipped his lights at us, saw us do a circle in the road and came back to check on us. He helped us climb up the embankment and offered us a ride to Emery's truck stop just down the road.

My son, always pragmatic, decided he would take his hard-earned supper with him. The car was setting astride the tree trunks so it wasn't going anywhere.

Once at the truck stop, we thanked that kind stranger who refused any payment for his trouble and went in to use the phone.

We had planned on calling Bill's father to come pull us out of the ditch with his tractor. Once we got inside it occurred to us that we didn't know the phone number to reach him. Again fate smiled on us as my friend and fellow columnist Carolyn Gray Thornton was there and offered us a ride home. In times of crisis how good it is to see a friendly face. Thank you Carolyn! On the way home while Carolyn drove I was chatting like crazy to minimize my concerns. Bill kept saying, "Mom, don't worry about the car. We could have been killed! And even the deer didn't get hurt." "Well, yes, but my car is all scratched up! My poor car!" I wailed.

Carolyn, who sometimes also feels the crunch of writing a weekly column, chuckled and said, "Look at it this way Nancy. At least you have a great subject to write about in your column this week!" Bill's father did help get the car out, (thank you Gentry!) Although once again, the help of a stranger was required to finish the job. A kind man with a four-wheel drive stopped and assisted in pulling the car back onto the road.

Until the next time friends remember we all face times when the world seems to spin out of control. Those are the times when we must rely on the kindness of fate, friends and concerned strangers.

Carolyn Gray Thornton
Middle Age Plus