Accidental Blessings

Once upon a time, a long time ago when I was a young man, I was riding my Honda XL-350 dual purpose bike to work, about 3:30 PM in the afternoon. The weather was great, it was a good day to ride, and I was young and maybe a little cocky.
I was having a good time, and I decided to take a short cut across an open field near an intersection, cutting across an open triangle of land to re-enter the road a bit further up. This was not necessary; I was just fooling around.
I made three mistakes – first, I wasn’t as good a rider as I thought I was; second, my equipment wasn’t as good as I thought it was. And finally, I missed one vital point of information that I really needed to know.
You see, there was a small ditch running fairly close to the edge of the field nearest me. The grass had grown up some, and when the field had been mowed recently, whoever did it straddled the ditch with his mower. This gave the illusion of a level field in that area, because the grass was cut level. In fact, there was a hidden ditch. It was only a foot or so across, and six inches or so deep. But it was enough to ruin my day.
I left the road going nearly 60 MPH, trying to do that motocross thing. I almost immediately hit this hidden ditch – and the rear end of the Honda tried to pass the front end going over the top. We call that an ‘endo’ – which stands for ‘end over end’. The front wheel crossed the ditch nicely, but the back end was over-sprung and under-dampened; basically, it bounced when it hid the side of the ditch. I went over the handlebars and cleverly used my face to plow a furrow probably 20 feet long. I was wearing a helmet, with a duckbill visor on it; this probably saved most of my face, but my glasses were broken, cutting my nose.
When everything stopped moving, my mouth was full of dirt, my glasses were gone, there was blood all down my front, and my right arm wasn’t working. The first thing I did was put my left hand in my mouth to see if I still had my teeth; the fact that I had to do that may give you some idea of my state. I had one of those nifty leather jackets motorcyclists wear – the accident ripped the right sleeve right off of it, on the right mirror, I believe. That’s probably what damaged my shoulder.
I’m here to tell you that things can go from being just peachy to very bad indeed, in about a tenth of a second. If you don’t understand this, you should not be driving.
To make a long story short, other than trivial collateral damage, the worst of it was that my shoulder was dislocated. I didn’t know this at the time, I just knew it wasn’t working. Because it took me some four hours to get it treated, the tendons stretched and it became chronic.
This was a humbling experience; nothing funny about it at all, and it’s hard to see any good coming out of it. But I did learn a bit about staying within my limits, and making sure you know the terrain before you ride. I was some time recovering from this; quite a bit later, I had to have surgery to ‘pin’ my shoulder to stop it from spontaneously dislocating.
I told you that one so I could tell you this one.
Because I was off work for a time, with nothing much to do but heal, I found myself able to go on a church trip to Six Flags Over Texas that I normally would not have been able to attend.
I’ve always been a bit of a loner, so I didn’t know many people on the trip. It probably didn’t help that I was (and am) always reading. I’ll admit it – I’m addicted to the printed word. This has a bearing on what happened next.
The church group, in several vehicles, stopped at a store about half-way to Dallas to let everybody stretch their legs and use the bathrooms. There was a group of teenage girls standing in a circle talking, and I noticed a small patch on the bottom of one of them. So I bent over to read it. It said “Love me, squeeze me, take me home.”
Then I suddenly realized how rude it was, to read a patch on somebody’s behind (in a church group!!), so I quickly straightened up and walked away. The girls were giggling about it, and the girl who’s bottom I had read didn’t see me – although the other girls pointed me out to her. And a few days later, I asked her out on a date.
And a fair bit after that, we got married. I “loved her, squeezed her, and took her home”. It worked out pretty well – 34 years, two fine sons, a great daughter-in-law, and two grandkids later…
And that’s the story of how I came to be married to Texas Grandma. The Accidental Blessing – if I hadn’t had the terrible accident that day, I may never have met Texas Grandma. So that wreck was really a blessing in disguise and a turning point in many lives.
Sometimes when thing go wrong – just maybe, it’s not so bad as you think.
-Popgun

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