It was early March, nearing the end of our ski season, when my wife got the call. My oldest daughter was crying and screaming. My son was lying on his back at an awkward angle, unconscious. She thought he was breathing, but couldn’t be sure.
I hung up, called ski patrol and jumped in the car with my father-in-law and wife. We reached the base of the hill in time to see my son strapped motionless to a sled pulled by a snowmobile.
After all was said and done, my son was unconscious for two minutes (or less) and other than a 12-hour gap in his memory, came through the incident unscathed.
A week later, my wife took a box of chocolates and a thank you note to the ski patrollers who tended to our boy. She asked about the off-duty ski patroller—wanting to thank the woman as well. Both patrollers just shook their heads, confused.
My wife relayed the information from my daughter. Both patrollers just looked at her funny. Finally, one said, “When we got there, the only people on the scene were your daughter and your son.”
My wife and daughter decided this mystery person was real, but maybe, just maybe my daughter was the only one who could see her. Maybe she was a guardian angel.
We’ll never be able to prove it. Accident scenes are chaotic. Human memory is notoriously poor. But, I like the thought.
Something similar happened again last night—we’ve had an interesting year.
Once again, my wife’s phone rang. Our son had a problem—he had just totaled the car, hitting a deer on his way home from school. He was not hurt.
Driving to yet another accident scene involving my son and something that moves, I remembered an event from earlier that evening. My youngest daughter had yelled for me to come see the deer in our suburban front yard—a site we’ve never witnessed before. As it turns out, we were watching these deer at roughly the same time my son was in an accident caused by a deer.
Coincidence? Probably. Weird? Definitely.
Returning home with my son (and without my minivan), I couldn’t begin to process all my emotions—nor begin to understand the strange sequence of events—but I was reminded that life is full of surprises.
In a strange way, it’s similar to the work we do here each month. We start with topics we want to cover and then as we report, edit, and design strange things happen—strings of stories on the same topic come together, outliers show up and demand to be published regardless of the overall theme and, somehow, someway, it all works out.
I imagine your workday is much the same (can you say, “Citizen Reported Problem?”)—that can really blow up the old “to-do” list. But, like us, somehow, someway, you manage to make it all work out.
I think Ray Tanner, assistant manager for Mullet Hall Equestrian Center at Johns Island County Park in Charleston, SC perfectly sums up on page 20 the work we do here at PRB and the work you do for your community when he says, “We make it work because we love what we do.”
Till next month…
Rodney J. Auth