Reminder to be grateful for what we still have
Updated: June 20, 2012 4:59PM
The phone rang around 5:30 as supper pork chops sizzled in a fry pan.
My youngest sister’s voice was soft, methodical. “Lisa’s been in a bad accident. They’ve done a number of tests and she’s OK. She just got home from the hospital.”
Heart pounding, feeling queasy, I thanked her for the update and dialed Lisa’s number, memories flooding through me. Of my three younger sisters, she and I share the same bizarre sense of humor. As kids, the two of us would dance around my father’s pool table downstairs, lip-syncing to “My Fair Lady.” As teenagers, we’d howl at Monty Python’s Silly Walks.
After several rings, Lisa answered in a groggy voice and explained what happened. A teenager executing a left turn plowed into her Ford SUV, sending it into spins, the force of the impact slamming the vehicle violently into a street-lamp pole.
Good Samaritans rushed to her bashed-in vehicle, worrying there had been fatalities. Instead, Lisa pulled her sobbing 5-year-old grandson clear of his car seat. She was relieved he was all right and had deliberately aimed her side of the SUV into the oncoming car to protect him.
Miraculously, he had no injuries. My sister’s arm was bruised, but there were no broken bones or blood. Both of them were badly shaken, yet intact — and lucky. Very lucky.
“You know, you and I talk
about how bad things are.” She reflected over the phone. “We talk about our 10-year-old cars and how we’re grateful to have them, because people are losing their homes.”
I agree, twisting the phone cord around my wrist. Most everyone we know is hurting bad. On her end, the family landscape business is struggling; on my end, it’s scary bouts with unemployment. We’ve joked that in a middle-aged fashion show, instead of wearing designer dresses on a catwalk, we’d be wearing whiskey barrels.
“Anyway, what I keep remembering was the sound of my car’s engine still running, wheezy and sick sounding, like it was wounded,” Lisa said. “I saw how flat the tires were and how the driver’s side was caved in.”
She paused. “All this time, I kept hoping to buy a new one.”
Her voice broke. “Well, that old car saved my life.”