Saturday, August 23, 2014

The story of how we didn't die today

Andrew pulled into the parking lot, threw the van into park, and let his shaking hands slide from the wheel. He was white as a ghost and looked about like he was going to throw up. Instead he started to cry.

I reached over and turned off the car.

"You did a good job," I said, stroking his cold, clammy arm.

He nodded and took a shuddering breath.

"We should say a prayer," I said.

The kids immediately folded their arms and I said a prayer of gratitude, thanking Heavenly Father for sparing our lives, for keeping Andrew alert, for moving us out of harm's way.

"Can we go play now?" the girls asked. "We'll take Benjamin with us," Rachel volunteered (as bait to eke out a yes from me).

"Sure, go," I said.

The girls unbuckled their brother and the three of them struck out for the playground where many of their friends were already playing.

The ward Pig Pickin' was today. Even though it started much earlier in the morning we aimed to arrive around lunchtime. For some reason it feels weird to start an activity three hours before you eat when you're planning on staying a couple of hours after you eat.

We left the house around 11:30 and headed down Guess Road toward Little River Regional Park. We drive that way a lot—the kids and I—we have friends who lives out there (we meet at their house for ukulele a couple times a month). I even drove out to Little River Park by myself once. It was my first time going 55 MPH was rather scary. Even though I've had to go 55 MPH several times since that first time, I was more than happy to have Andrew drive today.

So, there we were, cruising toward the pig pickin' at 55 MPH when a car going the other direction suddenly drifted into our lane. I don't know what they were doing—texting or something, probably—but in the blink of an eye they had left their lane entirely and were heading straight at us. (Right about here, in case you were wondering).

Andrew leaned on the horn and yanked the wheel to the right. We lurched onto the shoulder, bumping along in the grass, as we passed the car and then had to swerve back onto the road to miss hitting the "traffic light ahead" sign.

The other car was panicking just as much, I'm sure, once our horn alerted them to the horrifying situation they were in. They managed to get back into their lane without hitting anyone, fortunately.

So that was the most terrifying experience we've had in a long time, perhaps ever.

We were seconds away from...what? We shudder to think.

A head-on collision? Rolling our car into the ditch? Ramming into a sign or tree?

Somehow we managed to escape without a dent or a scrape, which we find quite miraculous.

"Can you hand me a kleenex?" Andrew asked.

"Yes," I said, reaching for the roll of toilet paper we keep under the seat. "Are you going to be okay?"

"I think," he stammered, "I think I'm in shock."

"You probably are," I agreed.

We sat in silence for a few minutes more.

"You can go ahead," Andrew said. "I'll catch up in a minute."

"Are you sure?" I asked.

"Yes," he said.

"You're going to be okay?" I asked.

"Yes," he said.

I took the cookies (that we bought at the store because who bakes when it's still like 80°F outside (and/or when they only realize that the pig pickin' is this weekend at, like, 11:30 at book club on Thursday night and are busy all day Friday)?) to the dessert table and got into the food line with the kids. Andrew—calm, cool, and collected—joined us before we even made it to the front of the line.

And that is the story of how we didn't die today.


  1. Thank God for protecting you. How scary!

  2. Scary! Glad you were all safe!

  3. Reminds me of a story I heard in conference once. A father teaching his son how to properly plow a field. Pick something far, far away and drive towards it. In other words, "Look where you want to go".
    This is so metaphoric in many parts of our lives. Glad you are all safe, and The Spirit is with your family for today and always.

  4. I read it. I am so grateful you were protected. And Andrew had to drive home! But he must have done it, so good for him. Get right behind the wheel again. I love you all so much. Glad you are safe.

  5. Very scary. So, so, so happy you are ok!