This story takes place at harvest time again. It was a time when our cell phone did not have great signal strength, as we are situated between two signal towers. It's better now but still not great.
I was at home, and decided to give Ed a call to see if he needed anything or just to ask how he was doing. See, I am the perfect little farm wife. He had been clearing the field of flax straw at the time. I kept getting the message that he wasn't available. That meant he was in a blind spot. So I just carried on with my morning. It was annoying, but what could I do? At the back of my mind were the stories you hear of farmers having accidents. But I thought I would just keep on trying.
After the fourth time I got it into my head that Ed might be in some sort of trouble. It's usually the other way around, but still I was beginning to really get worried. So I hopped into the car and started to drive the four miles to the field he was working in. As the crow flies the distance is only about one mile, but I'm not an old crow. I've been accused of it though. Anyway I had to go around on the gravel roads. It had been another wet year, and there was a low area between fields. I would never have made it through there, even with a tractor but maybe with a boat.
I now have to say, I do drive a wee bit fast on the roads, and that was my downfall. Ed says my driver's training must have been on the racing circuit. My mind was on Ed, and I didn't even think to put my seat belt on. So I zoomed onwards to the corner, slowed down enough to take it on two wheels and then sped up again.
I got about half a mile up the road, and was just passing on old abandoned farm yard. I must have taken my eyes off the road for less than a second, but I guess that is all it took since I felt the car start to slide onto the shoulder. I tried to steer it back onto the road, but the car just kept sliding sideways. No doubt about it, I was heading for the ditch.
I knew I was going around 110 km. (that's just under 70 miles per hour). I had seen it just moments before while glancing at the old yard. I know, don't shake your head at me, reader, it's not my fault, it's those race car instructors.
I looked up and saw I was headed straight at the telephone pole. It was going to be a head on! It's amazing but true that in split-seconds I realized that I had to somehow miss that pole or that was it for me. Remember I had no seat belt on. For some reason I remember thinking I am going take this pole down, too. Why did they put a pole where I wanted to go anyway? I slowly, almost calmly, managed to turn the steering wheel to the right. I knew if I turned too quickly I would roll the car. It was like a slow motion picture. I seemed to have all the time in the world to think and see what was going on around me. I know, weird, right?.
Then the car dipped into the ditch, hit some rocks and went straight up into the air. I am sure it would have made a great scene in an action movie. Too bad there were not any cameras around.
I didn't know it at the time, but I had narrowly missed the pole, but knocked the side view mirror off. As I sailed through the air, there was no trying to steer, I just hung onto the wheel for dear life. My whole life didn't flash before my eyes, just the dumb parts; that took a while though.
When I hit the ground the air bag went off. I just sat there, my hands tightly locked onto the wheel. Now the smoke started to come out of the hood area. At least I think it was from the engine, but the air bag had its own strange smell. It made me cough.
All I could think of was that I had to get out before the car blows up. I guess I had watched too much TV, where that sort of thing happened all the time. The people getting saved by the hero and barely escaping a burning death. The thing was I didn't have anybody to save me! I just had to do it myself.
I unclenched my hands from the steering wheel and tried to open the car door. No luck, it was locked from inside. Then I thought that I had to quickly turn the ignition off so the car won't blow up. The mind is a wonderful thing in a panic situation. It's funny now, when I tell it, but at the time not so much.
Then all of a sudden I heard a voice say, “This is Onstar, you have been in an accident. Do you need assistance?” I didn't know my guardian angel was with Onstar! I was indeed surprised since we had not renewed our subscription when it had run out a few months before.
I told the woman, “I think I am ok.” She then asked if she could contact anyone for me. I was in a state of shock and it took me a minute to figure out that trying Ed wouldn't work. I had to think a minute then told her to call my neighbour, Mona.
The woman did, and came back and told me she had left a message, and was there anything else she could do, call an ambulance maybe? I said, “No, I am fine, thanks for all your help anyways.” She then disconnected.
Isn't it an amazing thing to know that if you are in your car, and have Onstar or a similar device, you can be found anywhere on the planet? It's a good feeling, let me tell you.
I unlocked the door, and was now was able to open it. I got out and looked at the car. It seemed to look fine except for the broken side-view mirror. Even the tires looked normal after hitting the ground. I thought, well this isn't so bad after all. Little did I know all the damage was underneath the car.
I now started to really think about what had just happened. Oh, Ed wasn't going to be happy with me. I was already thinking of all the delightful ways I could make it up to him.
About 10 minutes later I could see a car coming down the road from the direction that I had been driving from. I thought it must be Mona. When the car stopped, I saw that it wasn't her, but another neighbour, Marion. She lived a couple of miles further down that road. She was coming home from Church, it being Sunday.
She got me into her car and asked, “Kari, are you hurt?” I told her I was just badly shaken up but otherwise fine. Then I noticed two large bumps the size of golf balls on the tops of my hands. That must have been from the impact when I hit the ground. The bumps didn't hurt, I guess they were just swellings but they sure looked odd. I was more worried that Ed would apply some others, elsewhere. Marion asked, “Can I drive you home?”
I said, “No thanks, I'm waiting for Mona, a message was left on her phone.” So we stayed in the car while I slowly tried to relax. About twenty minutes later we saw another car coming up the road. This time it was Mona.
When she got out of the car, she apologized for taking so long. She had ended up running all over the place looking for me because she had thought I was at the other farm which was 7 miles away. I told her, “Don't worry about that. I'm just glad to see you. We may as well go tell Ed what I have done now.” This way I would have a witness, just in case.
So I said my thanks and goodbyes to Marion, and we drove to the field where Ed was working. I was trying to figure out a good way to tell him what had happened. After hearing me out, Ed decided to come home after me and see what the damage to the car was.
After seeing where the car was in the field he had no trouble finding where I had hit the ditch and came out of it. Then he looked from the ditch to where the car was sitting. It was a fair distance, so he walked it, measuring about 3 feet per step. By his estimation, he figured I had been airborne for about 70 feet before landing.
He shook his head. He really does that a lot. (But I think he was happy that I was in one piece.) He later did ask if I had flying lessons with my driving ones.
Now for the car. It was only a year old when I did this to it, and we got lucky, as it turned out, it was just under 1,000.00 from being written off. Autopac, our insurance company, would never have given us the value of a one year old car, if it had been written off.
The autobody repair shop in town did a great job of getting it back in running order. It took about a month to get the car road-worthy again. There were a lot of parts that had to be replaced. But you would never have known it was in an accident, except for the occasional red light on the dashboard coming on and off. I used that as a warning for the future, so I could have one.
The bumps on my hands went away in a few days. The only other hurting I took was on my right hip. I had hit the hinge of the seat belt when the car hit the ground. I was extremely lucky and I knew it. I have since slowed down a lot when driving on gravel roads. Well, to be honest, I am now back to my old ways. I still don't know why no one wants to drive with me...geez!
Oh, and another thing I was lucky in. I waited to get my yearly drivers licence renewal. I figured I would get a bunch of demerits on it and have to pay who knows how much for insurance. But, as it turned out, I didn't. I must have slipped through the cracks in the system. So, I still have my 5 merit points and all the benefits that go with that. Ed just shakes his head at my luck and wishes some of it would rub off onto him.
Whenever Ed and I go somewhere, he always insists that he drives. I don't know what his problem is, after all I hadn't done anyone any harm and I really don't think that I will be going out in an accident. After all, if I wasn't such a good driver, how would I get away with not going down in flames? At least I keep my wits about me in a crisis situation.
One thing I told Ed when we got married, and that was he would never be bored with me. And so far I have kept my word.
This was my latest accident, but not my only one. I really think that I have 9 lives like a cat and have used up at least 5 of them by now. I may not get to collect old age pension at the rate I am going.
More stories about my close calls will be coming in the future.