Sunday, August 28, 2011

A little macabre

Earlier this summer, we started our vacation driving toward Florida on a Saturday afternoon. I can't remember exactly why, except that it was my fault, we left nearly an hour after our intended departure time. It probably had something to do with my waiting until nearly lunch time to start packing.

We were only a couple of hours east when traffic slowed quickly to a halt. We inched along, some cars jumping the line or u-turning to avoid the wait and then there it was - cars flipped over, people standing around, a county hearse on the access road. Sobering. Sad.

Taking in the scene, it could have been us, the wreck was likely about an hour old. Those scenes repeat themselves throughout our lives, usually in smaller ways. It could have been my daugher skidding on the ice, there could have been an explosion if I hadn't been in the right spot to smell the gas filling the house......

In 1994 we lived in a three story Victorian style home. I turned the corner toward home one afternoon,  and there was a fire truck on our street, at my house. I'd run out on a quick errand, leaving the kids at home. Ricky should have already left with one of them for practice. But as he was loading the car he heard something, maybe, and checked out the sound. The garage roof, sheltered from view by the house, was on fire. He yelled at the kids to get out of the house, called 9-1-1 and put a hose on it. About $50,000 later the fire department completed the job. If he had not been in that part of the garage at that particular time, I would have come home, been in the house with my children, and wouldn't have known our house was on fire until much later. With a wood shingle roof, the whole house would have been gone. (Turns out there was a roofing nail touching electric lines and it finally torched.)

The bottom line is that we are all fortunate any day we make it through intact. Who knows what might have been if .....?

Today the news has been all Hurricane Irene and its aftermath. While the storm fizzled somewhat, the news agencies are reporting fifteen deaths attributable to the storm. Keep in mind this death toll marks the eastern United States from North Carolina to New York. I am saddened for those families, but part of me can't help wondering how many other lives were saved this weekend with all the bars closed, the parties canceled and trips postponed.

I've decided that the best thing to do when things don't go according to plan is trust that there was another plan I just didn't have the details for.

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