ANGELS CAME IN A SONG

It was the perfect message in a time of sadness.

The gymnasium was filled to capacity when we arrived. Two large blocks of chairs, with an aisle between, faced the lonely casket.

Chairs were filled with friends and family. It seemed best, for us, to sit in the bleachers.

Row upon row of floral arrangements had been placed on tiered shelving, occupying an area the length of the gym. Local florists had been asked to stop delivering orders since there was no more space for display.

Moments before the appointed hour of the service, a group of young men began to arrive. Neatly groomed in white shirts and jeans, carrying their hats, the young rodeo men quietly took their seats near the back of the congregation.

His name and date of birth were printed on the program. Nineteen short years on earth and today we were mourning his passing.

Riding chaps lay draped over the casket. A large painting of the deceased was placed at the side.

Travis was a rodeo man.

On his way to Alabama to compete in his specialties of Team Roping and Saddle Bronc riding, he was tragically killed while driving through the state of Kentucky.

Tired and excited about the next event, he asked his friend to drive while he rested his head against the back of the seat. As he slept they came upon an 18-wheeler parked on the side of the road. Too late to react, their truck veered off the road and lodged underneath the semi.

The friend survived the crash. Travis did not.

I am usually in control of my emotions at funerals. My husband and grandson were attending this sad occasion with me. Our grandson was, at that time, a bull rider in the rodeo circuit. Knowing the potential for injury and death, our love and concern for him and for these young men was strong.

For them, the excitement and the challenge outweigh the potential danger.

I was determined to control my emotions.

Near the end of the service, the Dad and Mom of the young man quietly approached the casket. A song I’d never heard before, was played through the sound system.

It was the perfect message in a time of sadness. There are angels among us. I hope you take the time to listen to this song.

Angels Among Us by Alabama

[email protected]

Mary Anne Whitchurch Tuck

GUESS WHO RAN THE RED LIGHT

Trying to navigate the unfamiliar left hand turn at a cross section,
I didn’t see the traffic light.
It was blinking red, apparently.

(Here’s a clue, it wasn’t me.)

I suppose it had to happen sooner or later.

I’ve always bragged about my driving record.
As with many, I started driving at the age of 16.

I’ll grant you; I’ve never traveled much cross-country
or in a foreign land, (such as Canada).
Still, no person of the law enforcement
has ever flagged me down on the highway.

I’ve always been quite proud of that.

Oh yes, there was that time in New Hampshire.
Returning to the campground where our fifth-wheel awaited,
my husband was tired so I was driving.

It was almost midnight.
You may wonder why the time would be of importance.
There were no cars to be seen on the ROAD through town.
Trying to navigate the unfamiliar left hand turn at a cross section,
I didn’t see the traffic light.
It was blinking red, apparently.

I could see the red flashing light of the police car
in the rear-view mirror.
The traffic officer appeared at my window.
Why he was cruising this deserted ROAD at mid-night,
I’ll never know.
“I didn’t see the light, officer”, I said.
“I was searching for the turn and guess I was preoccupied”.

He was very nice and quietly said,
“You’ll need to be more careful in the future”.
There was no ticket…whew!

Now let me think.
The only time I received a traffic ticket
was in 2013
when
I was traveling a local highway,
apparently at the speed of 74 mph
in a
55 mph zone.
A township officer, who was hiding in a nearby forest,
must have believed she had a live one.
She followed me persistently
until I pulled to the side of the road.
She had clocked me at 74 mph in a 55 mph zone,
she said “Don’t you have a cruise control?”
“Yes officer” I said, “but it doesn’t work”.

“I’ll have to write you a ticket”, she said.
Standing by the car she began to fill out the citation.
“I have not had a ticket since I started to drive at the age of 16,”
I said, smiling quietly.

” I suppose I will have to quit telling my friends
I’m a “virgin driver”.
(I was quite sure she’d noticed my birth year of 1935
on the driver’s license.)

An understanding smile crossed her face.
“I’ll just write the ticket for 60 mph.”
“But be careful you don’t get another within the next three years
or your insurance will increase.”

 Thanking her profusely,I drove on my merry way,
silently cherishing my sense of humor
which was inherited from my Mother.

* * *

Continuing:

Last Monday I drove a few miles down the road to our local McDonald’s
where I intended to buy myself a Big Mac and an order of fries.
Just as I left home,
my son said “Pick me up a large strawberry shake”.

I did.

As is my usual routine
I drove through the Wal-Mart parking lot
which would allow me to enter the road at the light.
It’s much safer.

As I approached the light,
it was green.
Slowly proceeding across the highway
I prepared to turn left.

At this point I can only tell you what I assume happened.
There was a loud bump on the driver’s side of my car near my left shoulder.
The side airbag inflated.
Truthfully, I wasn’t aware of it at the time.

The car was now tilted a little bit to the right and was  located several feet to the right of the light.
A quick look told me there were remnants of a strawberry shake
all over my car,
up, down, and sideways.

As I recall,
the Big Mac and fries
were never seen again.

Wondering where my glasses were,
I noticed them sitting in the corner of the dashboard
on the passenger side of the car.

Now that’s odd, or maybe it wasn’t.

A nice gentleman came over to the car
and asked me if I was all right.
“Yes, I’m fine”, I said.
(Later was when I found the scrapes and bruises and aches,
but I digress.)

My son came to give me a ride home
and the wrecker took my car away.

A few days later the insurance adjuster called to inform me
the car was totaled.

I now have a new car,
a new appreciation for driver side airbags,
a new understanding of the need for seat belts
and some other things I haven’t thought of yet.

The lady in the car that crashed into me
had run through a red light
and apparently wasn’t aware of the color.
(Until she collided with me, of course.)

The lady’s car was also totaled.

Oh yes, there is one thing which has recently occurred to me.
This must become part of my driving habits.
When I’m approaching a green light in the future,
make sure that no one is coming from the right or the left, appearing to be maintaining speed,
 seemingly making no preparation to stop at the red light.

 I can remember that.

copyright©2018

Photographs By Mary Anne Tuck

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