Tuesday is typically my favorite day of the week. I have my clarinet lesson and then, later in the day, I have Huntsville Concert Band practice. I had my lesson and was on my way to band practice when I got a call from Keegan. I could tell he was upset – he told me to come back home. My first thought was that Tank had died. He has been getting steadily weaker and isn’t eating. But Keegan finally got out the words I have dreaded since the kids started driving; ‘I’ve had a wreck.’ I was only 3 miles away; I had just left for band practice. I turned around so fast that it is a blur in my mind. I just know that I found myself rushing home knowing that we could handle anything since he was well enough to give me a call.
When I got home my eyes drank in the scene. Keegan’s car (my second car) was pulled up into the driveway with a red truck blocking the end of the driveway. Apparently they had already moved the vehicles out of the road so they were not blocking the travel lanes. I got back home before any emergency vehicles arrived although they weren’t far behind. The sheriff showed up along with a fire truck, paramedics and several volunteers. The gentleman that was driving the other vehicle kept saying that Keegan didn’t even look – that he just pulled out without looking. My instinct was to go all Mama bear on him – Keegan has been driving me around all summer and he doesn’t pull out without looking. I do believe that the windshield pillar blocked his view such that the truck was in a blind spot at just the wrong time. It didn’t help that the gentleman didn’t have his headlights on and it was coming up on dusk. But for him to continuously say that Keegan didn’t look was just wrong. But I pulled back a little. When our kids are experiencing big emotions (and a wreck definitely brings on big emotions), I feel it is a parent’s job to stay calm and share that calmness to help offset whatever emotion might be overwhelming them. So I stayed calm making sure that Keegan knew that a wreck was not the end of the world. It was an accident and no one was hurt and that was a blessing.
Turns out that the sheriff doesn’t do accident reports where I live and he contacted the State Troopers. In the back of my mind, I was hoping to still make the 2nd half of band practice (I know, I know – can you say obsession?) but once I heard we were waiting on a state trooper, I relaxed since my experience has been that it takes more than an hour for a trooper to arrive. And true to expectations, it was about an hour and a half before he made it to our location. [To be fair to the troopers, it isn’t their fault it takes so long – Alabama has less than half the number of troopers needed and someone in an accident sometimes has to wait for a trooper to come from the opposite side of the country or sometimes even a different county] He quickly wrote up the accident with the other gentleman telling his side of the story first including the ‘he didn’t even look’ statement. I ask you, was he watching the road or looking at Keegan as he drove along? He claims to have been going 30. If that is true, he is the only person driving under the speed limit on Dug Hill but I didn’t contest his speed. The trooper asked if we pretty much agreed and I spoke up quickly saying “no” and then letting Keegan tell his side of the story. In the meantime, the gentleman was smoking and throwing his butts on my driveway. I was predisposed to be annoyed with him but this was unacceptable. I told him I needed to pick up the butt he had just thrown down so my dogs wouldn’t eat it. He was apologetic and he picked it up; it gave me a tiny sense of control and the feel of making things right in my world which had been shaken up by this accident.
This mishap presented me with a myriad of emotions. It was a call I had thought about and worried about ever since the kids were much younger. To finally get that call and feel myself swing into action as if I had rehearsed my part felt as if I had done this before. Watching how Keegan comported himself filled me with pride in the man he is becoming. He was polite and respectful and that was telling in such a high stress situation. I wish this had not happened. I’m not sure how to afford his college expenses much less help him find transportation. Because the car is totaled. It is a 2005 Honda Accord with 245,000 miles on it and is probably not worth fixing. I wish I were wealthy and could help out more than I do but money is tight. He is looking for a job but in the meantime, I want to help him as much as I can. So I’ll go through and re-figure my finances to see where I can find a few extra dollars. Not easy when I want to build a house but I want to help him get set up for success in the future. I am grateful that he is safe and healthy and that I still have the opportunity to help him. I will cherish these moments at the end of summer before taking him back down to Auburn. He is a good kid and he will always be my boy………