It is hard for me to write this.
The wheel fell off my car one time in early April on my way to Morgantown. My car had 199,000 miles on it. I was on the interstate. I thought I had a flat tire, so I pulled off I-68 at Friendsville to check it out. No flat– weird. I got back in the car and the tire still felt wobbly as I drove, like it does when you have a flat tire. I did a 180 to turn back toward the interstate. My car suddenly lurched to a complete stop and I saw my left front tire bounce down the road away from me. It rolled to a stop in the gutter on the dark quiet main street in Friendsville, a town of fewer than 500 where no one was awake on this Friday night.
Owen was supposed to go to a pool party at the end of his soccer season. He loves to swim but he did not want to go. So we went home instead. He went to his room and played games. I sat in the front of the house in the sun room and I read. It had been overcast all day but it had not rained in hours. Out of nowhere, BOOM!, a huge thunderclap and lightning at the same time. Soon, sirens. I found out later that the lightning had struck the pool at the pool party where Owen was supposed to be. Everyone was out of the pool, but the lightning radiated through the water and the roots of a tree. It struck a woman and a boy. The boy was in the hospital for three days. He remembered nothing. The last thing he could remember from that day was the soccer game. Owen would have been there too, but he decided at the last minute not to go.
Miles and I were downtown together in the evening in the early fall. He was about seven years old. We went to our favorite pizza place at the top of High Street. There was a parade that day– Morgantown has lots of parades so it was not really a surprise to stumble upon a parade downtown. I forget what it was all about. Miles and I ate our pizza on the street and we watched the parade. It was mostly fire trucks. They blared their horns and flashed their lights. I looked down at Miles and he was choking. He took too big a bite of pizza and he was choking. “Help” I said and I waved my arms to the fire truck. he was choking. My little boy was choking and couldn’t breath. What do you do? The men on the fire truck ignored me, thinking I was hailing them in the parade. I ran back to Miles and a young woman who stood by the pizza place walked two steps up to Miles and performed the Heimlich maneuver on him. I found out she was a nurse. The pizza popped out and he breathed. He was fine. We were both scared but Miles was fine. He was safe. We hugged on the sidewalk and we both wept in fear and relief.
There are so many close calls.