Monday, January 27, 2014

#122 He Buys Me a Hummer

Hummers seem to be quite a controversial vehicle choice.  You either love them, hate them, or are completely impartial to them.  More than likely, if you love them you are the sort of person that rolls your eyes at that little green eco leaf some cars have these days (I find it especially intriguing when it is on an SUV) and if you hate them you are probably the sort of person who drives one of said cars...or something much smaller and more likely to get you killed if you are even tapped by something the size of my car.

No car choice is great for the environment, but don't knock me because I fell in love with one that is a little worse.


Okay, now that that's out of the truth, I never thought I would get my Hummer.  It was my second dream car.  My first was a 1969 Corvette Sting Ray.  My senior year of high school I got my Corvette, but it wasn't a Sting Ray, or even close.  But that is another story for another time.

I imagined my Hummer would be a car that I would have to wait to get once I published my first book, or when my husband was making enough money that I could retire and walk around the house eating bon bons as I lounged in my robe all day.*

*Note: This would never ever happen.  The key reason? I secretly hate robes.

A few years after I started dreaming and setting goals to get my Hummer, the production of Hummers stopped.  I was crushed.  Heartbroken, in fact.  I was convinced that now I would never get the car of my dreams.

Me and Daddy

The need came for me to get a new car in 2011 when my Jeep Liberty bit the dust.  It was a wrongful death of which I was completely to blame.  Who would have known that oil changes were a thing of such importance?*  Somehow I ended up being completely spoiled by my Hubby.  Despite the fact that I shouldn't have been entrusted with any kind of vehicle again, I ended up driving away from the first dealership we visited with my Hummer.

*And all the car mechanics, no wait, all the men of the world roll their eyes back into their heads and groan.  I'm sorry.  Truly, I am.

Unlike my Hummer which was bought because of my sheer stupidity in maintaining a car, my Jeep Liberty came because of my one and only true near death experience.

It was January 2006, MLK Day, my senior year of college.  Hubby and I were heading back for spring semester which would begin the following day.  My Mercury Mountaineer was packed from bottom to top, wall to wall with my belongings.

I loved that car.  Almost as much as I love my Hummer.

After picking Hubby up from his parents' home, and somehow managing to squeeze his things into the car as well, we stopped at Wawa to grab me a chocolate doughnut for my ever pressing craving for chocolate.

I needed to make a left turn out of the parking lot to bring us to a light about five hundred feet away where I would make a right turn to get us back on the highway towards college.

I saw the car coming.

I thought I had enough time to get out and make my turn.  As I began to go Hubby saw something I didn't and screamed "NO".  I looked back at the car coming towards me and all I could imagine was that if I didn't jam on the gas and get out of the way the car was going to hit right into my door.  So I gave the gas all I had and aimed for the Walgreens parking lot across the street.

As the oncoming car crashed into my car I screamed out the only word I ever know to say in a moment where the world has gone silent and the worst thing imaginable has become reality, "JESUS".  Later, I'd reflect with great relief that that had been my choice of word rather than the millions of other choices available.

When I came to, my massive monster of a car was flipped onto its side and facing the direction I had planned to turn towards.  The car was still running, and I started to panic.  I'd later realize that there were four cars already stopped behind us, their drivers giving no second thought to their mission as they jumped out of their cars to try and save us.  The back door of my car was being popped open and a woman was trying to drag our things out to help us get out.

Hubby reached across me, turned the car off and tried to open my window.  It was jammed--because although the passenger door behind me had taken the majority of the hit, part of my door had been hit as well.  Without another moment's passing, Hubby opened the sun roof and we were instantly helped out of the car.  CD cases, CDs, lanyards, my recently purchased donut, my purse, and everything else that a teenage girl would keep on or in her center console were spilled out on the street.

Police and an ambulance were already there.  I remember panicking, quickly asking the police if the man in the other car was alive, which to my relief, he was.  I knew I needed my cell phone, that I needed to call my parents, to find out what I was supposed to do when faced with a situation where my car was flipped on its side and in the middle of the street.

When my mom answered the phone, I managed to tell her I'd been in an accident, and then speech became impossible.  Once I found my voice again, I told her where we were.  She was in the middle of telling me she was on her way when I looked up to see her coworker and good friend walking my way.  Something about her presence, about seeing a familiar face in this moment of utter confusion provided me with an overwhelming sense of safety.  "Mom, Dana is here," I said breathing out relief.  She didn't say anything, she just hugged me and in that moment I felt free to cry and release the fear that had been tightly held inside of me.

When Hubby and I spoke with the police as we waited for my mom, they told him flatly that he should be dead.  His head should have hit into the concrete when his side of the car flipped over and hit into the road.

Why didn't his head hit the concrete?  Why eight years later am I sitting here on my couch staring at the man who should have died but instead now shares a beautiful married life with me?  Because as the car which he had tried to warn me was quickly headed our way was crashing into us, instead of bracing himself for impact, he was reaching across to protect me.

Every time, every single time I imagine this moment, I picture two things.  What my strong beautiful man looked like selflessly reaching over to keep me alive and safe, while at the same time behind us stands an angel, its arms outstretched around both of us, shielding us from the car, the impact, and the concrete.  

When I walked away from that accident scene, life became more real to me than it had ever been.  It became more precious.  I was without a car, but I didn't care.  I had my life.  I had my boyfriend's life.

I have always believed in God.  And I have always believed in angels.

It was on that day that they became real to me.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

#121 He Eats Reese's

It didn't take long during my childhood to learn the importance of not lying to my parents.

During my teen years, I proudly declared time and time again that I had only ever lied to my mother once.

That was a lie.

It was actually twice, but I'll get to that in a minute.*

*Note: Of course, these lying records do not include omissions, conversations that end without answers, or long pauses that caused mom or dad to forget what they had asked in the first place.

For my first lie, I was eight-years-old and my mother had declared the Christmas candy off limits.  Being the chocolate fiend that I am, the Reese's peanut butter cups wrapped in silver, red, and green foil were literally calling my name, taunting me to reach into the candy jar and eat them.  Naturally, I gave into my fleshly urges and sunk my teeth into milk chocolate peanut butter delight.

I had barely swallowed my sweet disobedience when I came face to face with my mother.

When she asked if I had eaten any candy, I could only assume in that moment that my mom and God must be pretty tight.  I figured she had a supernatural connection that ensured she would know if I ever lied to her.

If only I had the brains then to realize the lingering smell of chocolate and peanut butter that just one tiny Reese's can leave on one's breath.

My final lie involved a BB gun, a bird, and it is not for the faint of heart.*

*Translation: It isn't for those who are against hunting.

I was twelve years old.  My dad had just given me my first "firearm": a BB gun.  We set up soda cans in our yard to use as targets.  I was hitting barely half of what I shot at, while my father and brother managed to hit everything they aimed for.  When I finally had the BB gun back in my hands, I knelt down on the ground and purposed inside me that I was going to hit something.  As fate would have it, at that precise moment a blackbird appeared on the ground near our targets.  I took aim, breathed in deeply and pulled the trigger back as I slowly released my breath.

A squawk and ruffle of feathers later and I was frozen in place on the ground, jaw dropped down to the BB gun still in my hands.  My family suddenly stopped all conversation and tilted their heads towards my kill.

It was as easy as point and shoot, yet I still couldn't believe that after hitting hardly anything all day I had actually hit the first thing I really aimed for.  Part of me wanted to proudly declare that I had hit that black bird and I had hit it on purpose.  I had aimed, I had focused, and I had conquered.  But then, in the midst of a growing moral dilemma, my parents began comforting me on my 'accidental' hit.  The other part of me then came to light.

Not wanting to seem heartless, cruel, or, frankly, a murderer, I agreed with their sympathy.  I told them that I had just been shooting at the ground and somehow that bird had wandered in front of my random, aimless shooting.

And they believed me.  For a long long time.  Until I finally decided to come clean because the guilt of what I had done weighed too heavily on me (--that or I finally wanted the credit for killing that bird).

So what is the moral of this post?  Because I certainly do like a good moral.

Here it is...

Sometimes you'll lie and you'll get caught.

Other times, you'll get away with murder.