My husband, Rick, and I lived in the country for more than five years. One afternoon we drove through the countryside to pick up a car we’d had repaired. The clouds had been building for awhile, but I didn’t think much about it as I pulled onto the road to leave the shop. A truck appeared and wedged itself between Rick’s blue car and my brown one.
The wind had picked up, and pine trees swayed near the highway. They looked like they could fall, so I hit the accelerator in our muscle car and zipped away from the area. Just before going over a hill, I glanced in the rearview mirror, but I didn’t see our car or the truck anywhere. I stopped at an intersection and waited. Still no sign of either vehicle.
Worried, I traveled back down the highway, soon coming upon a car on the right side of the road, facing the wrong way. Part of a pine tree was on the car, and two passengers sat in the front seat. I got out of my car and approached a surprisingly calm woman with her passenger’s window down, and I asked if they were all right. She assured me they were fine, and I walked a few more feet toward a giant pine tree covering the road com- pletely. It looked so much larger on the ground than it did while standing, and pine scent was everywhere.
I used to hear that we shouldn’t drive barefoot, and this was the only time I ever did. What a coincidence that it’s the only time I’ve had to climb onto a broken pine tree to peek at the other side. I still saw no car or truck–only another enormous pine blocking the highway.
There was nothing I could do at that point but run back to my car over bits of pine bark and broken glass and drive home. I felt sick, trying to figure out what happened. Had a tornado come and carried the vehicles away?? It didn’t make sense. And what about the car I did find? Where did it come from? I vaguely remembered passing a car on my left earlier, but it was facing the opposite direction when I came back. The driver must have slammed on the brakes when the trees fell, turning the car around inadvertently.
I hurried home, and my heart sank when I didn’t find our blue car in the driveway. Where could he be? Trash can lids had been blown twenty feet or more from their cans, and leaves along with small branches littered the yard. I had no idea what to do after I went inside the house, so I sank onto the couch and prayed. I don’t know how much time passed, but I started feeling that I needed to go out and hunt for Rick some more.
I had just grabbed my pocketbook and was about to head out the back door when the phone rang, and I snatched it up to hear the sweetest voice I’d ever heard. Rick told me he was okay, but a tree did hit his car. The road was blocked, so he drove toward home another way, stopping at someone’s house to call me.
Greatly relieved and exhausted, I went outside when he finally arrived. A badly-cracked windshield and long dents on our car’s hood told me part of the story, and I waited to hear Rick’s after a long hug. He said everything seemed to happen in slow motion. He tried to stop, but it was too late, and in addition to the tree hitting the car, he ran into the tree. He was able to back out, which did even more damage to the car, and he turned around to go the other way. I must have just missed being hit, since one of the pines fell in front of the truck and another was in between it and Rick. But what about the truck? What happened to it? Rick told me the driver drove over the tip of one of the trees, since he was trapped in between the two.
We were so relieved that no one was hurt, we didn’t worry much about having to replace our windshield. Our car was kind of old, so we didn’t have the dents repaired, and they were a reminder of how close we can come to calamity.