The Back of the Line

I’m still here. A little shaken two days later, reeling a bit yet actually, if the truth be known, but I live and breathe and I get to enjoy the beautiful colors of Virginia yet another day.

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Did you ever watch one of those movies where an angel-character intervenes and saves someone from imminent disaster? In one of the beginning scenes of The Bishop’s Wife for example, Cary Grant, designated angel, notices a baby carriage that got away from the distracted mother and he pulls it back just before it rolls in front of an oncoming vehicle. Angel to the rescue!

I’m not sure I ever had such a striking example of this sort of thing in my own life as I had two days ago.

Mom had surgery (doing fine). Jerry and I had been visiting her at the hospital that’s less than a mile from where they live. I was taking him home before heading home myself at about 530pm, heavy traffic time. Easy little back route though. Traveled many times.

This little back road meets the main, four-lane road at a light. There are two lanes as you approach the light – a right-turn lane and a straight-or-left-turn lane. To take Jerry home I should have been in the straight-or-left-turn lane. Only momentarily I forgot I was taking him home and got into the right-turn lane.

“You want to go straight,” he said. Oh, right. Duh.

So I looked behind me – no cars – thinking I’d back up slightly and maneuver my way into the correct lane. It didn’t really matter which lane I was in, especially with no other cars waiting for that light to turn, but you are supposed to be in the straight-or-left-turn lane to go straight and you almost always sit at that light for a while, so why not?

Just then the light turned green.

I was not in a position to accelerate on account of having been in the wrong lane and being momentarily distracted by my finagling, so it took me a second or two longer than it should have to begin the crossing of that main road. The hesitation proved a godsend.

Had I been in the correct lane in the first place and accelerated as soon as the light turned green, I would have, as Jerry put it, predeceased him. A red pickup truck came barreling through that intersection in the right-hand lane of the four lanes of the main road – the cars in the other three lanes being at a dead stop, so their light had to be red, not yellow – and would have rammed smack into the side of my car with me and Jerry in it. He was easily going 50 mph.

It would have been a direct hit with me first in line. Did an angel have a hand in this rescue? I don’t know. Thank God for my dimwitted mistake though, that I was in the wrong lane, that I wasn’t ready. You should always look before you accelerate at a light anyway, just in case someone is barreling through, and I might have looked, and that too might have saved us. Instead I just thank God I didn’t give the car gas in that first moment.

Later when I told Mom, reliving with no small agitation the stress of my almost-demise, she said, “It wasn’t your time.” She then said she’s always seen such things as being bumped “to the back of the line.” Who’s next? Your turn? Nope. Git to the back, you!

I never knew she saw it that way, never heard her use that expression before. I like it! As much as I like being at the back of the line, if indeed that’s where I am, which is what I will choose to think at least for some time yet! I am so happy my mom’s nearby, so happy to still be learning about her, learning from her, enjoying her company. In my circle there are too many people who have already lost their moms. I am so blessed in this way and I know it. I love you, Mom!

13 thoughts on “The Back of the Line

  1. Oh Patricia, I am so sorry that you had this happen, but thank God you are okay. Thais could have been a terrible thing but thank goodness you are okay. I’m sure you and your mother were quite “shook up”! You are always in my thoughts! Take care and keep writing – I always enjoy hearig from you!

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    • Nancy, your response warmed my heart more than I can say! Thank you! Sometimes when I feel like it doesn’t matter if I write or not, I remember all your great encouragement. I wish I didn’t depend on encouragement so much, but I do! Thank you!

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  2. Oh my Goodness! Patricia, I’m glad your mom’s doing well. And WOW, that was such a close call! I’m so glad your guardian angel had you firmly in his/her grasp! This is a scary yet inspiring story. I’m wondering if Chicken Soup for the Soul might be interested. You might go to their website and check out submission rules and story topics they’re interested in right now. If you do submit this story, consider changing it up up a little since you’ve already published this. What I mean is that you don’t want to submit this word for word. Anyway, I’m so glad you’re okay! Also, just so you know, I was reading Sarah’s latest post and I responded to some of what you said there as well! Big hugs to you, Mona

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    • Thank you, Mona. What can happen in the proverbial blink of an eye is astounding! I keep thinking how much is undone, unsaid, to the tune of What’s It All About, Alfie? (which are the only words to that song that I know!). Thank you for your warm concern, your heartfelt hugs. I am truly glad to be here! Never thought about it as a story for a broader audience, but thank you for that idea as well — I wonder how many almost-disaster, angel-to-the-rescue stories they get 🙂 I will look into it. And now I will head back to Sarah’s nerve-striking post … 🙂

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    • Last night before dinner Jerry said the same — how frightening! I am not glad he was in the car with me, potentially at risk as well, but I am glad to have had a witness to the idiocy/airheadedness of that driver. I’m not making this stuff up! 🙂 Thank you for caring, for responding. I’m so glad to be at the back of the line — hopefully for a good long while!

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  3. As stressful the situation was – and all of us have such moments every once in a while BUT: What a great object lesson. We learn from life as long as we live minor and major truth. One truth is that we are mortal (Psalm 1). We need not dwell on it all the time but “consider” the fact. And we also learn from other people how to live with the mortal truth and learn from their insight and strategy. Yes, the impacts are coming closer – however – let us look at the beauty of life itself, nature and the magic of friendship and loving understanding. We shall live – today, tomorrow and in the times to come. Be it in Virginia, Germany or at our final destination: Heaven.
    Glad I can celebrate life and friendship with you and the people we love.

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  4. Adding my good wishes that your near-disaster was averted. Scary, indeed. And I know the feeling. A few years ago, I stepped off the curb just as a large SUV came barreling toward me. I jumped backward and fell, hitting my head and wrist. I walked the quarter-mile home, probably in shock, and iced the wrist. ER x-rays the next day showed no concussion and a merely bruised wrist. Weeks later, a hand surgeon confirmed a break to the wrist, and surgery followed, then PT. But I’m fine now—have almost total range of motion thanks to the surgeon’s skill. And I’m so very grateful that I escaped the damage that that SUV could have inflicted.

    Stay safe!

    Cheers,
    Annie

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    • Wow! I have the memory to relive but you have the memory plus all you had to go through with your wrist! I am doubly counting my blessings 🙂

      Thank you for your kind wishes. How the head can spin with the what-ifs!!

      Patricia

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  5. I’m so glad the good Lord was watching over you. I had a friend over 25 yrs ago who had been ran into twice. He gave me some good advice about driving. He told me that no accident is worth a few extra seconds to look both ways twice even if you have the light turn green for you. 12 years ago I saw a man pull out to make a left hand turn when he got the green left light. It was a sickening feeling to watch another man run the red light right into him. Neither driver had a clue what was about to happen to them. The left turn driver never looked.

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  6. Thank goodness you’re OK – shaken, no doubt, but not hurt (or worse). Your mom sounds like a very wise woman: I love her description of what happened to you as being “bumped to the back of the line”. What a comforting thought.

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  7. Pingback: Frosted Sage | An Unboring Path

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