3 October 2011
Semi vs old four-door Ford – Fate Fairies – book version
This entry was posted on 10/3/2011 1:30 AM and is filed under Fate Fairies – book version.
It must speak to the passing of reaching 50 years old. I never pondered it much 20 to 30 years ago – that slide into mortality consciousness one realizes with age. It happens one day without fanfare. You suddenly have an epiphany on some fateful moment as you step back out of an intersection to avoid a car and say to yourself, “Woe, I could of just died here.” There have been so many of these instances in my life, I feel it begs revisiting them.
Hence begins, “Fate Fairies.” You know the fate fairies. Those little spiritual troublemakers that answer to what ever god you carry with you. If you are lucky they are preoccupied with minutia like hiding your car keys and wallet and other such nonsense. Mine, however seem to act as if they smoke pot and party all night – then only to show up for work and spend a great deal of intellectual resources figuring out ways to almost kill me but never quite succeeding. My fate fairies seem to bask in orchestrating perennial near misses for me with the afterlife – or what ever you would like to call the place one goes after your services are no longer needed here on earth – make up your own name for it.
One of my first vivid memories is of Mom and Dad heading home as we drove out of Janesville, Wisconsin, on the way back to the farm. The four miles or so of Highway 26 north of Janesville has always been notorious. It must have been around 1960-61 or so. It was long before that short jaunt between Janesville and Milton had been rebuilt into a smooth, four-lane divided boulevard. The busy vehicular and overwhelmed commerce artery was so inadequate and dangerous back in the day, by the 1990s, local ambulance services began to put up crosses along the route where drivers had died over the years. As a vehicle came over the hill into the more open stretch of country heading toward Milton, drivers and passengers could see the route was peppered with the little white pieces of wood.
Dad had to get back home to do the never ending farm chores. We had probably been to Janesville to see my Mom’s mother. Grandma lived alone in the house my grandfather had started building on the near north side of Janesville. He had died in the mid-1930s back in the days of 14 hour work days at the General Motors plant; and, there was none of the modern medicine we all take for granted nowadays. Mom’s brothers, my uncles, had to finish the project. My Dad headed out of town on the then narrow, two-lane, hilly, State Highway 26 – known as Milton Avenue in the built-up part of town. The old house was just a couple blocks off said avenue.
All I remember is Mom hollering at Dad to, “Look out, Dearie!”
“Dearie,” is what she called my father when something discussed was serious, such as money, the farm, Dad’s quirky brother, or in this case…, barreling down on an eighteen-wheeler.
The old truck roared up the hill into town right at us.
Dad always got hyped up when it neared chore time. He was a stickler for punctuality and taking the cows seriously – they were our proverbial bread and butter – those beasts’ milk was the only source of our monthly paychecks. So, much of my memory of my father is of him working with and for, the meticulous tending of those animals. Having the chance to work along side my father on the farm afforded me the unique perspective of knowing things about his work ethic even my mother was not privy to. But, I also got a glimpse of his more temperamental sides as well. In his predictable late afternoon hast regarding the pending “chore-time,” Dad sped up to pass the slow car in front of us. But as Mom so noted, there before us was the on-coming grill…, of a big ugly, faded-white…, Mack truck.
In those days the trucks and cars were built like tanks – iron welded to iron. Wrecks often looked like film footage from old World War II news segments – heaps of iron and steel with a tire or two sticking out. Also, in those days the road shoulders did not always exist like today. Dad flung the old Ford four-door (we never owned a new car) into the opposite side ditch to our left. Some of those old ditches were deep. The old Ford held, the semi passed within inches, and Dad slung the car back out into the on-coming lane and then quickly veered us back into our correct lane.
I do not remember the conversation on the rest of the 14 mile ride home to the farm. In fact, I never remember the instance ever…, and I mean ever, being brought up again as long as either one of my parents were alive.
Note: This blog “Fate Fairies” – book version Category is a work in progress. The original vignettes are being edited for book form. Go to the Cooldadiomedia Web site and the Fate Fairies Page for an ordered chronology of the book vignettes (chapters).