November 26, 2005

The thrill of a lifetime

My sincere regret in my lapse of not posting a Friday Jokes Funny* yesterday, but I have a good excuse.

There are those events in our lives that allow fantastic experiences. I can only suspect that most, if not everyone, has tried to imagine the results of this or that situation in their mind, at one time or another. Imagine, if you will, a hurtling 65mph '93 Lincoln Town Car slamming squarely into the side of a steer, weighing several hundred pounds, who was staidly standing his ground. Result, both steer and his mechanical opponent were severally damaged to the point where each labored to move.

First of all, you have to understand the circumstances where this could occur. Run a road through an open range of solid black cows, make sure there is no artificial light of any kind except that employed by either of the combatants, pick a night where the moon is strangely missing from a very clear sky, set up the speed limit at 65mph, place the whole situation on one of the few roads through a scenic area where amenities are far and few between, and then put a curve in such road for one of the bovine occupants to stand upon. As the fatigued driver of the vehicle distractedly attempting to get to another place before the sun set and finding myself an hour beyond that time, I can tell you that it is hard to avoid an object that suddenly appears directly in your path only five feet from the front of your hood. I barely had time to yell "Cow" and to stomp on the brakes before I heard the thud. The vehicle did as directed and stopped within a tolerable distance. However, I found both airbags had exploded and both my hands were dripping great amounts of blood. The windshield was shattered and part of the roof front was crumpled right over my head. I asked Susan how she had fared. Her inability to see was voiced as her biggest concern. She finally realized she no longer wore her glasses, and the location of these became her primary goal. I made the necessary inquiries to insure she faced no life-threatening situation, unsecured myself and opened the door. The steer lay on the road a few feet behind the car, wiggling and trying to move. Without a gun to use to ease his suffering, I could not really do anything to assist either the steer or his predicament without suffering additional physical harm to myself.


My next concern was the condition of the vehicle. It still ran smoothly and neither of the front fenders had crumpled into the tires. I reached up pulled the completely shattered windshield off and threw it to the side, retook my position and pushed the gas. It surged forward. I then hoped to drive windshield-less to find some help. Quickly, it began to move only in spurts, going very slowly. I noticed the emergency flashers were on, as were the remainder of such lights that still operated, one being one of the lights inside the passenger area, and urged it onward. Through my rear-view mirror, I could see an auto directly behind me, then noticed as it pulled alongside. I rolled down the window to hear them ask if we could use a ride. I quickly assented but told them I would like to find a suitable place to park the car and suggested I had seen a sign for a campground a few miles ahead and would like to try to make it that far. They agreed to follow us as far as needed and pulled back behind us. Forward movement was very slow but thankfully a large pull-out was located on the opposite side not too far away and I pulled the car as far away from the road as possible.

The two young men showed proper concern for our physical welfare and then assisted us in collecting some of our belongings, and finding a way to get us both and all those necessary things into their almost fully-packed four-door compact hatchback. I, still continually dripping a steady stream of blood from my left hand, had located all the necessary keys I had in possession, found both mine and Susan's eyeglasses, and became aware of every bit of money we had on hand. I, my clothing, and most parts of the car, were spattered with blood. Before I took the small space between Susan and the passenger-side back door, I wrapped a pseudo-fleece shirt, one I had thrown into the backseat in case I needed to put on a warmer layer under my long black leather coat at some time during our trip, around my left hand. Susan, after announcing some concern for the pain she found herself experiencing in her left hand and some burns on her face from the exploding airbag, sat mostly mute as we rode the 40+ miles to the next town along the route. My part of the conversation was a discussion of what had happened, what they had witnessed, especially pleased to hear that the cow had maneuvered itself near to the edge of the roadway by the time they had passed, and their plans in relation to our need to arrange for somewhere to stay and some way to get around. By the time we arrived in in the next town along the route, it was evident the driver wanted to place us in someone else's hands and get on with whatever it was they were planning to do next. We made one pass through the town looking for anything open, they intent on finding an open station/convenience store. I advised that it was better to seek an open motel, as it was Thanksgiving evening and nothing else in town would be open. The driver remembered seeing one with its lights on and turned around. We were dropped off at the office door and our possessions unloaded. The passenger remained at my side as I pressed the bell.

A man appeared and allowed us entrance into the office. When he asked if he could help us, I explained that I had hit a cow several miles away, and he immediately took charge of the situation. My Alaskan friend took his leave, and he and his companion left. Susan sat on a bench outside near our luggage. The manager, a young man himself, pushed a key across, and said "I'll make all the necessary calls. I'll call the ambulance and they'll meet you at your room." Susan, as always, followed me with part of the luggage, as we walked the length of the complex to the next to the last unit. I walked back to the office to get the remainder of luggage, and had only brought those inside and closed the door as Susan attempted to get the heater working, when there was a knock at the door. An ambulance was parked just outside and three EMTs checked and treated our injuries. Susan's left hand was greatly swollen and it was suggested that she be transported to the nearest place to get it X-Rayed, but Susan waived off, suggesting that it was not so severe that it could not await her visit to her own doctor as soon as we got home.

While that discussion was going on, my left hand now being extremely bandaged in hopes that such would stop the bleeding, the phone rang and I answered. It was a State Trooper, who, at the end of his questions, said he was taking down the accident report over the phone and that no one would actually go by to check on the location of the steer until the next day. With orders to fax some paperwork that I did not have on me, such still being inside the vehicle itself, he hung up. Almost immediately, the phone rang again. It was the local wrecker driver.

We spent a few minutes regarding the disposition of my vehicle, my biggest concern was getting an opportunity to get the rest of my possessions, at least, those I thought were important enough to keep, out of the car. His biggest concern was that I understood how much all this would cost -- about $500.00.

The EMTs finally left with some instructions, providing some ice packs to assist in reducing the swelling on Susan's left hand, the one they had stabilized and taped up to restrict movement of the affected parts, and advised us they could return, if needed. Susan attempted to sleep, wanting to crawl under the covers so as to gain some warmth within the very cold room. I went to the office to inquire about transportation, was told that we'd be taken to the airport in Grand Junction, CO and given some ibuprofen that the EMTs hadn't had on hand, then returned to the room and awaited the tow truck driver, who was supposed to drop by to collect the keys to the car. I waited an hour, then sought the comfort beneath the covers of the adjoining bed. Upon readying to do so, I noticed my bandage was considerably blood soaked, and, again wrapped my hand with cloth so as to keep it from getting on the sheets. That was about 9:00 p.m. The knock on the door aroused Susan from sleep an hour or two later, and I was aroused to answer the door. Someone other than the man I had talked to on the phone was there and I had to explain the arrangement I'd made to have the car dropped at the door so that I could get all my stuff out in the morning, before they came back to haul it off wherever. He said he had driven two hours to get there and was taking the car back to that location, so the best he could offer was bringing it by on his way back to allow me that opportunity to collect whatever I wanted. I, myself, was seeking simply a long sleep and to put everything else off to the next morning. He would not assent and left. I crawled back beneath the covers.

3:00 a.m. and the dreaded knock came which compelled me to leave the warmth beneath the covers and to again move through the cold room to answer the door. It was the driver and my car was sitting upon the slanted transport platform behind his truck, several feet off the ground. My hand was still bleeding and, now, running down my fingers as, in bitter cold. I slipped and slid across the back of his truck removing this and that from the trunk and picking though the glass-splattered interior of the vehicle to get everything I felt we could not replace or that would be too easy to shove in some empty space within our luggage to leave behind. In hindsight, there were only a couple of items I wish I had remembered to get. The whole time I was doing this, the driver was inside, on the phone. He watched as I began to remove my collection from the truck platform and stack it all within the door of the room, then rolled off with the car. I returned to bed and slept the remainder of the night, my hand still wrapped in a wad of cloth.

Immediately upon rising early the next morning, I checked for signs of bleeding and was pleased to find only a couple of spots on the bedding and that, though extensively blood-soaked, the bandage was completely dry. I went quickly to a nearby store for morning beverage and some ointments for Susan's facial burns, then, to the office to inquire about our transportation needs. "I told you last night that I would drive you to Grand Junction, but it is 150 miles each way, so I'll have to charge you $150.00." I thought it was a reasonable sum and agreed. Following a nice trip, almost like a personal tour of the things we could see or were possible to see in the area, he dropped us off at the airport, as promised. I went in and rented a car. 23 hours on the road, and we are safely home. Both Susan and I have removed our bandages. I soaked both of my hands in peroxide for several minutes, then washed them with soap and water, before repeating the peroxide soak. I am still assessing whether I want to bandage my hand or not and Susan wants to see how her hand responds tomorrow, before deciding to consult her doctor. I still need to get the rental car back, fax the necessary paperwork to the Trooper, and find the title so as dispose of the car for which I no longer have a use, and hopefully, except for the $3000.00 loss of funds and assets which I suffered, the situation has come to an end.

We suffer, but live. We both agree, given what we know about the accident, that we would have likely died by from a small electrical problem with the auto we had intended to take on this trip: my recently purchased Mustang convertible. Without a working lighter plug to use in recharging both my cell phone and the lap top, it was decided taking the old Lincoln was a better choice. That decision turned out to be a real piece of good luck, wouldn't you say?

Posted by Tiger at 04:42 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

November 18, 2005

Nov. 18, 2005

Whew, made it under the wire.

Pardon the politics of the following. I suppose it could be rewritten easily to put someone else in the passenger's seat. To me, as written, it was hilarous:

Hillary Clinton and her driver were cruising along a country road one evening when an old cow loomed in front of the car. The driver tried to avoid it but couldn't - the old cow was killed.

Hillary told her driver to go up to the farmhouse and explain to the owners what happened. She stayed in the car making phone calls to lobbyists.

About an hour later, the driver staggered back to the car with his clothes in disarray. He was holding a half empty bottle of expensive wine in one hand, an expensive Cuban cigar in the other and was smiling happily, smeared with lipstick.

"What happened?" asked Hillary.

"Well," the driver replied, "the farmer gave me the cigar, his wife gave me the wine, and their beautiful twin daughters made mad passionate love to me."

"My God, what did you tell them?" asked Hillary.

The driver replied: "I said, I'm Hillary Clinton's driver, and I just killed the old cow."

Posted by Tiger at 10:01 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 12, 2005

A treasured remembrance for Veteran's Day

I would like to share a letter I found in a book I recently bought at a flea market this past year. It seemed to share a bit of insight into the life of those island hopping Marines back in WW Two. It was inside of an old yellowed envelope addressed to Mrs. Thomas O'Malley and was dated November 13, 1944. It read:

Dear Ann,

Although we never met, I feel that I have to come to know you very well from all the conversations between Tom and I during those long nights laying in the foxholes. He had received your letter just the day before he was killed when than mortar round exploded in our midst this past week. As we both lay there, wounded, and in shock from the blast, he turned to me and said, "Please, if I don't make it, tell my wife to name our child ..." he gasped for air, then exhaled: "Oh Jesus," reaching for air. These were his last words. I know these words can provide you no comfort in these days, but I felt you should know.

Izzy Ignoski, USMC

I guess it is fair that we also remember those non-military victims at this time of the year. Here is to you, Mrs. O'Malley, and to your son, O'Jesus O'Malley. We all must honor the sacrifices that you made for our country, as well as the vallant efforts your husband and Mr. Ignoski made in defense of our freedom.

Posted by Tiger at 04:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Nov. 11, 2005 [posted a day late]

Due to some Veteran's Day activities in which I was involved plus an impromptu visit to my brother to pay back some money he had to pay on my behalf (plus the chance to see my cute niece and nephew), I did not have a chance to even connect to the internet yesterday. I apologize to all of you who came by yesterday to get your Friday chuckle.

The computer company my wife works for distributed a corporate clothing catalogue that included a pair of cuff links. One was inscribed Ctrl (control) and the other Esc (escape), just as they look on a computer keyboard.

"They would make a good present for any man," my wife commented to a colleague, "if only to remind him of the two things he can never have."

And since I was bit neglectful of my duties, as my self-imposed punishment, I offer something extra in the extended entry.

A biker is riding a new motorcycle on the highway. While passing a car, he knocks on the window. The driver of the car opens the window, "Yes?"

"Ever driven a Honda motorcycle?"

"No I haven't"

The biker drives on, until he sees the next car. While passing it, he knocks on the window. The driver of the car opens the window: "Yes?"

"Ever driven a Honda motorcycle?"

"No I haven't"

Then suddenly there is a curve, the biker sees it too late. He crashes off the road into a ditch. A car stops and a man runs to the unlucky biker. Covered in blood, the biker asks, "Ever driven a Honda motorcycle?"

"Yes I have. I had a Honda for 20 years."

The biker says, "Tell me, where are the brakes?"

Posted by Tiger at 03:34 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 04, 2005

Nov. 4, 2005

When we brought our new-born son to the paediatrician for his first checkup, the doctor said, "You have a cute baby."

Smiling, I said, "I'll bet you say that to all the new parents."

"No," he replied, "just to those whose babies are really good-looking."

"So what do you say to the others?" I asked.

"He looks just like you."

Posted by Tiger at 04:31 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack