Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I never KNEW a Dodge Neon could FLY!

Good morning! The tale I am about to tell you is true, and not fabricated in any way, nor shall I embellish the truth to make it sound crazier that in really was. Oh yes! Leave it to me to perform the craziest stunt possible and walk away from it alive! My friends would agree that I can never do anything the easy way. For example, my friends will tell you, "Patti would never have a simple fender bender, it is simply not her style"! And I would have to agree. So, in reflecting upon my craziest most outrageous activity for this year, hands down I would have to give it up for... "The Day My Dodge Neon Took Flight".

Now you may be picturing the Magical Flying Car from Harry Potter, or maybe even the Antiquated, Flying car from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Oh no! My Dodge Neon's flight through the air would better be described as a car stunt from the movie the Dukes of Hazard or Dirty Harry. Yes, it was wild, it was outrageous, it was unparalleled, and to quote an off duty police officer who just happened to be following me when this was all going down, his comment: "THAT WAS AMAZING".

Thursday, October 29th started out as a typical CRAZY day. I was running late, and as usual. I was wiping coffee off of my clothes, grabbing what I needed for school, searching for my keys, but at last, whew, I was in the car, starting the engine when I remembered... NO GAS! I was already late as I have told you, but I knew the fumes left in the car would not get me to my destination which is approximately 20 miles from my house. SO, gas station stop, and I am now wiping gasoline off my clothes! Back in the car, I was feeling the adrenaline, and I knew Evil Knievel had nothing on me that morning! I got on the interstate, noting that the roads were a little slick, but still continued along at a Nascar drivers pace as I hurried to be on time.

Now there is a well know curve in Pensacola that takes you from I-110 which I was driving on, and dumps you onto interstate 110 going west toward Mobile. Oh this curve is deceptive, sly and sneaky as you start down it's slippery slope. It is deceptive because is starts out shallow and then makes a sharp lurch to the left, at which point there is no guardrail to keep you from leaving the safety of the interstate, and in my case this was probably a good thing! I was still driving taking this curve at a pretty quick pace, maybe not so nascar'ish' as I know the treachery of this curve, but with a fast pace, a slick road, and a fierce determination to be at work on time, my car chose that moment to go into a little hydroplane!

I am sure you have all been there at one time or another and your husbands words of 'DO NOT SLAM ON THE BRAKES" resonated loudly in your head as it did in mine- NOT SO MUCH! I panicked and I slammed the brake pedal to the floor, and could not figure out why my car started to swerve even more toward the hill lined with those lovely little pine trees. SO, SURELY, slamming the brakes one more time would help, alas NO DICE! My car decided to commune with nature that day, as it left the interstate and somehow propelled itself, according to the off duty police officer, 'AS HIGH AS A HOUSE-MAN!" into the forest of trees!

During my actual experience I remember nothing, but thank goodness my eyewitness, my now new found, and dumb founded off duty police officer friend, was able to fill me in after the fact. I simply remember landing nose down in a ditch, and I couldn't see because my glasses were gone (probably hanging from a tree limb after flying out the now glass deprived back window)! I was FINE, I was ALIVE, and then, I KNEW.... a dreaded phone call was ahead of me, and I lost it. Oh yes, the tears started falling, and santa's bowl full of jelly had nothing on my shaking. As I picked up my cell which was miraculously laying next to me, I dialed the number, the number of all numbers, and I spit the glass from the windshield out of my mouth as I waited for an answer.... And he picked up, "Greg Easton", and all could think to say was, "I THINK I have just been in a very bad car wreck." Luckily by this time my new found friend, Mr. off duty police officer who was still going on about the miracle of my flight, took the phone from my hand, and told Greg to hurry over, that I was lucky to be alive! I got out of the car with one small cut on my leg, a bump on my forehead which later developed into a horn of interesting proportions, and a hair and body full of glass. Yes, I was now living my finest moment! HA! But then I started thinking....

Actually this was one of my finest moments and here is why... That morning, after I had pumped gas, for some reason I had put my seat belt on. Now to all of you normal people out there saying, "and your point is?" I NEVER used to wear a seat belt- my best of friends KNOW this to be a fact! It was too confining and restraining. It left me unable to flail my hands at drivers who were irritating me, or made it impossible to apply lipstick in a very precise fashion. This morning however, unconsciously I put my seat belt on and began my journey. My journey that launched the Neon into unparalleled glory of which no other man has seen the likes of except for my off duty police officer buddy and a few disbelieving fellow travelers.

So, my angels were with me that morning, making sure I buckled my seat belt, surrounding my car as it 'flew through the air with the greatest of ease'! My angels were around me as the car rolled end over end before landing in a downward and upright position! WOW! I was still alive, I was walking, I was talking coherently, well to some that may have been debatable, but I was ALIVE! CRAZY!

Once I got home, I assessed my bodily injuries, which turned to out to be minimal.... the cut leg, the horn on my head, a very bruised shoulder (I had no idea bruises could turn into all the colors of the rainbow) a bruised top of my head from where the roof crashed in on it, and I watched in disbelief as mountains of glass fell out of my hair, my clothes, and my mouth as I was STILL spitting it out!

Once I assessed my bodily injury, which was AMAZINGLY minimal, I sat and, as I always do, thought to myself, "Self, What have you learned from this CRAZY MOMENT in your life? I came away with several invaluable lessons. First, I would never again drive without a seat belt! I hear your chorus of AMENS out there! Second, I would strive to have myself organized in the morning so that I could drive in a less stressed fashion. Third, I would NOT SLAM ON MY BRAKES when hydroplaning. But, by far, the most important lesson, I realized God was not done with me yet! He still had a plan and a purpose left for me. There was still time to love my family and friends, time to meet and make new friends, time to perfect and share my gifts and talents, time, time TIME! I still had time, and since that life changing day, October 29th, 2010, I have chosen to live my life with an attitude of gratitude. I am so thankful for each and every day, and what that day brings me. I am simply CRAZY about my family and my friends, and I am passionate about showing them and telling them exactly how much I love and appreciate them. I have started reacquainting myself with crafts and hobbies I had let fall by the wayside, and I have started writing again. Something I love and enjoy, and do to be a blessing and encouragement to others.

So this, was the CRAZIEST moment in my life for the year 2011. But, I would not change a thing! I have learned from this lesson. And to end this tale of my "FANCIFUL FLIGHT" I will say to you, never take your life, your day, your family (including you furry family members), your friends or your gifts and talents for granted. Always strive to live each day to the fullest, laughing all the way. Always be thankful that you do have someone looking out for you, even when you are not aware of it, and realize YOU are here for a REASON and a PURPOSE.

I am thankful for you my friends. I love you, and look forward to the times that we will share, living, laughing and loving our way through this CRAZY JOURNEY called life!

And a little p.s. to this story. While attending a Christmas party a few nights back, a friend who knew about the accident asked me, "Are those YOUR skid marks on the curve?" And with a laugh I looked at him and said,"YEAH! they are, and aren't you glad I am here!"

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