I should have been killed in the accident. But somehow I'd ended up safe in the backseat.
- Posted on Nov 17, 2010
Church on Sunday couldn't compete with a pond full of crappie. That's where my best friend, Johnathon, and I were headed if the minister ever finished his sermon.
"Take a good look around you," he went on. "Think the people you see are the only ones in this church today? Think again. There are angels in our midst, watching over us, waiting to perform one of God's miracles in our lives."
Johnathon gave me a smirk. I knew what he was thinking. "There's no miracles happening in Ozark, Arkansas, as far as I can see," I whispered. Mom poked me in the ribs. "Hush!" she said. I turned back to the minister and tried my best to concentrate on the rest of the service.
Finally! Crappie, here we come! I was up out of my seat in a flash, dragging Mom to the car. "I'll grab my gear," I told Johnathon. "Pick me up ASAP." He shot me a thumbs-up.
I raced upstairs at home and threw on my shorts. In no time Johnathon's Crown Victoria pulled up outside and honked.
"Be careful!" Mom called after me. I charged out the door with my tackle box and pole. "I don't want you coming home with a hook in your ear."
"Don't worry, Mom," I said sarcastically. "I've got my own angel, remember?"
The pond didn't disappoint us. The crappie were over a foot long, and they were biting. I cast my line for another catch. "This place is awesome," I said.
"Yeah," Johnathon agreed, and we chilled without much talking for the afternoon, reeling them in left and right.
The sun began to sink, its reflection setting fire to the water. We cast a few more times, then packed up our gear. "Guess we better go," said Johnathon. "There's always next Sunday."
I popped some Aerosmith into the car tape deck. Does it get any better than this?
I gazed out at the trees lining the road, drummed on the dashboard and sang along: "It's amazing, with the blink of an eye you finally see the light."
The line of trees alongside the road abruptly ended and—pow!—the setting sun exploded into the windshield. It was as if someone suddenly turned a giant klieg light right in our faces. "Whoa!" said Jonathon, shielding his eyes. "I really need to get me some shades!"
He fumbled for the sun visor. The car drifted to the right.
"Dude, get back on the road!" I yelled over the pounding bass.
Johnathon cut the wheel. Too sharp. Too fast. We spun across the oncoming lane of traffic and plowed into a barbed-wire fence. Posts flew into the air like toothpicks, but the impact didn't even slow us down. The car barreled on through the grass, headed for a huge oak. That would stop us for sure. But it would kill us besides! Oh, God, help us! Please!
We missed the oak by a hair. A dead tree lay directly ahead. The car ran over it and flipped up end over end. My air bag blew out and filled the space all around me. I couldn't see. The car seemed to roll downhill, turning over and over. We bumped and crashed across the ground, but I felt like someone was holding me close, protecting me in the fall. I wasn't afraid.
We landed upside down. Was it over? Johnathon was in his seat. Somehow I'd moved from behind the air bag. I had no seat belt. I was in the back, behind Johnathon. How did I get here?
"Hey, man, are you okay?" Johnathon asked.
"Fine, I think," I said. "But let's get out of here."
Johnathon wrestled with his seat belt and struggled out of the car. I kicked at the back window until the glass broke. A cop, some firemen and three first responders arrived on the scene. Johnathon had a cut on his head, but otherwise we were all right.
Someone handed me a cell phone to call home. "We had an accident, but we're okay," I told Mom. "We need a ride."
I guess I didn't prepare Mom for the damage. She looked at the car and really freaked out. The front of the car on the passenger side was flattened like a pancake. "You could have been killed!"she said, pulling me into a hug.
Mom was right, I could have been killed. I should have been killed. But somehow I'd ended up safe in the backseat on the driver's side. It was almost as if I'd been placed there on purpose by whoever held me safe during the crash. A miracle in Ozark, Arkansas? "Hey, remember what the minister said this morning? Guess we were wrong, dude."
"Yep," Johnathon said. "God is awesome!"
I'd thought there was no way, but my Sunday afternoon just got even better.