Written on Thursday, March 15, 2007 by Jessica
You may recall that I recently put my car into a snowbank and damaged it. The event has put me to mind of a trip with Grandma down to Aunt Cindy's house a couple of years ago.
We were tooling along the highway at a comfortable speed, but to my great annoyance, a semi truck was spitting slush all over our windshield. I wanted so very much to get around that semi, but I didn't want to drive any faster than we already were. Nonetheless, when the road widened to accommodate a passing lane, I took advantage and white-knuckled my way through the slush and past the truck. Disaster struck as I eased back into the lane.
The rear tires lost their grip, and we found ourself careening across four lanes of traffic. I shouted, "Oh, shit!" and Grandma cried, "Jesus save us!"
You heard me: Jesus save us.
I don't know how we didn't get hit. Maybe Jesus heard Grandma's plea for divine intervention. If so, it would seem that he also (kindly) ignored my vulgar interjection.
In any case, we were safe. We were on the other side of the road facing in the opposite direction, but we were safe. No damage to the car, either, which was a tremendous relief. How in the world could I tell Grandpa that I wrecked his car? Thankfully, I wouldn't have to figure that one out.
The remainder of the trip was uneventful, but Grandma was skittish, glancing often at the speedometer and offering helpful comments such as, "It's a 60-mph zone up ahead," "It's getting a little snowy," and, "The roads aren't so great right here." Eventually, she wondered what we'd tell Aunt Cindy, to which I replied, "I'm not gonna tell her a thing. I'm not going to broadcasting to everyone that I put the car into the ditch. You can tell her if you want, but I'm not saying a word."
"Me, neither," she responded. "What does she need to know for?" After a few moments she added quietly, "No one needs to know."
The next morning Aunt Cindy asked, "So what's this I hear you went into the ditch?"
I knew Grandma wouldn't be able to contain such a tale.
Aunt Cindy elaborated, "Last night, after midnight, when I was nearly asleep, I heard this teeny, tiny little whisper: 'We almost didn't make it. We almost died!'"
Now, you might think the story ends here, but certainly not----because even though we barely survived the trip down to Aunt Cindy's, when the weekend was over we still had to drive three hours home again, and a three hour drive is even longer when you have to drive the speed limit.
Grandma remained skittish. She continued to glance at the speedometer every moment or two, wondering just how fast I was going. Obviously too fast, what with the buildings sailing by at a blinding pace. Never mind that other vehicles were whizzing by like we were standing still. Before long, I heard a clicking noise.
Click, click. Clickity click click.
What in the world?
Click clicky click.
It continued for several minutes. I had no idea what it was. Click click. Certainly not the car. Clickity click. It was coming from inside the car. Click click.
Suddenly, with a quiet "Amen" from Grandma, its origin became clear: She was praying on the rosary. My driving terrified her, and to ensure safe delivery home, she resorted to praying to the mother of God. I saw her place the beads back in the center console.
I thought about all the times I've sat in the passenger seat, scared to death because Baby's Daddy was driving like a maniac, trying not to stomp on the imaginary brake in the passenger seat. And while I might dispute such a characterization of my driving, Grandma probably wouldn't. So I slowed down to five under, and we made it home without further incident.
Maybe someday she'll consent to ride with me again, but surely not without her trusty rosary and perhaps a shiny new guardian angel pin.