Thursday, March 20, 2008

Story Jar: You Just Never Know

Jay and I had some wonky trips together when he learned to drive but our most dangerous had nothing to do with his skill level. We were driving near Rochester and I was at the wheel. It was dusk and we were on Route 390, a road undergoing some renovations with only two of its four lanes open. The workers were gone for the day and we were flowing with fast moving cars and trucks. The truck in front of us carried a lawn tractor on its flatbed until, suddenly, the tractor was flying at us.

There was plenty of room between our car and the truck for driving but a bouncing lawn tractor takes up a lot of space and I hadn’t planned for that. I used both feet on the brake hoping that the drivers behind me would notice what was happening. Jay squeezed the armrest and had both of his feet on an imaginary brake on the passenger side.

Luckily for many, the tractor hit on a rear wheel and flew to the right. Had it stayed in the lane to bounce straight back, it might have come down on our windshield. Flying to the left would have put it on someone else. I don’t think anyone would survive a flying lawn tractor.

The lanes to the right were under reconstruction but, since it was late, there were no cars or people. The truck driver slowed and stopped as we watched the lawn tractor bounce and spin while spewing parts and pieces in all directions. Lawn tractors do not bounce neatly. The poor truck driver probably got into a lot of trouble over that.

The episode was still clear in my memory when, about a year later, I drove past a pile of smashed cinder blocks at the corner of Route 19 and 417 in Wellsville. I hoped that the blocks hadn’t hurt anyone. I mentioned this to Jay when I got home and guess what? Rick and Jay had been in the truck behind those flying cinder blocks.

A bit later, when I was standing to cross Rt 417 in Andover I saw a truck full of bouncing furniture zipping down the lane. I was worried enough to keep my eyes tight on the truck and the rest of me ready to spring in a safe direction.

As the truck came nearer, I saw a station wagon behind it and then a sofa flew. The station wagon driver, wide eyed and tense was first-grade-teacher Lisa Lang. Holy Cow! The sofa landed on all four feet, bounced straight up and seemed suspended as Lisa drove right under it. Gravity caught hold and pulled it down and it landed on all four feet again but this time they collapsed like an exhausted dog plopping on a porch floor.

I sure watch who I follow these days.

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