Baby Bison, don't tread on that pretty flower...

Baby Bison, don't tread on that pretty flower...
Custer State Park, SD; June, 2010

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Columbia, TN, United States
I am a Christian, married over 43 years to my gorgeous first wife; in 13th year as professor of education at Martin Methodist College in Pulaski, TN; 4 children and 9 grandchildren.

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Monday, December 28, 2009

As inevitable as a deer in the headlights

It was bound to happen. That’s what inevitable means, right? Synonyms from my Word 2007 list include to be expected, to be anticipated, unavoidable, certain. Eventually it was bound to happen. As in the recent movie Avatar – because of a very predictable story line, not unlike a combo of Dances with Wolves, A Man Called Horse, and the animated Pocahontas – some of the good guys were bound to get killed. The only questions were who, when, and how. It was as inevitable as kryptonite having a harmful effect on Superman’s powers.

So it was this holiday season. We’ve been driving the curvy, hilly roads of southern Middle Tennessee for the last 12 years and have had some close encounters with raccoon, possum, skunks, and even the dogs allowed to run free or dumped along the highway by neglectful owners. With the proliferation of deer in dem dere hills, it was inevitable that someday one would appear in our headlights. So it was that on Sunday, December 27, at about 6:30 p.m., my wife and I were concluding a 13½ hour road trip from our grandsons’ home in Texas. We had to get home and do our laundry after 10 days and over 2,500 miles of visiting with three of our four children’s families, their combined managerie of two dogs and four cats, and all four grandchildren in three different states celebrating one college graduation and two Christmases (only very special people – they’re called grandparents – get to double up on those). We were catching a plane the next afternoon for Massachusetts to ring in the New Year with our only remaining unvisited daughter’s family and her one dog and three cats. It was inevitable that something would slow our plans. Fortunately they weren’t derailed.

The inevitability is more apparent in the realization that bad things always happen in groups of three. At least that’s what I’ve always heard – though I couldn’t point to the scientifically-based research to support that adage. Additionally, bad things happen to good people – and my wife is the best person I know. So let me explain the three bad, similar things that happened on this trip and you be the judge.

The first occurred as we were within 50 miles of our twin grandtoddlers (15 months old) in New Mexico. I was driving and my wife was dozing in the front passenger seat. All of a sudden we were bombarded by several (6-10 although it all happened so quickly that I didn’t get an accurate count) small birds. They had been zooming above the highway, darting hither and yon as birds will inevitably do on a cool, windy, Texas afternoon. From the much larger flock – more than six geese, four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves, and that partridge in a pear tree all added together – several unexpectedly veered off from the main group and kamakazied into the front end of our Camry. We were peppered out of the blue. My wife was instantly startled from her napping exclaiming something like, “What was that?” When I explained that we had been attacked by something out of Alfred Hitchcock’s imagination, she was pleasantly amused. Eight days later that initial event of the threesome no longer seemed humorous; but, alas, it turned out that it was inevitable.

But I digress – if you’re still reading this, you may be thinking I digressed a long time ago (friends might suggest years or decades). The second bad thing happened on I-40 on our return to Tennessee. While listening to the final pages of John Grisham’s The Appeal on our car’s MP3 CD player, we were approaching and preparing to pass an 18 wheeler. A compact car had just passed us. Which of those two vehicles threw up the rock that struck the middle of our windshield with a pingy thud and left a spidery crack will always be a mystery. One thing I can say without fear of contradiction…that method of receiving broken car glass is inevitable unless one drives very slowly and only in the driveway. Even then eventually some pebble would be slung up by a passing vehicle and bounce its way to our car’s windshield. NOT! We park inside the garage where flying stones aren’t very numerous. My wife and I seldom hurl them at each other…at least not in the garage where windshields are in proximity.

Replacing the finally concluded Grisham novel – unhappy ending, Bah! Humbug! – with some contemporary Christian music for the last hour of a long daze road trip, we turned off I-40 at Exit 148 for the last stretch of the journey home. Five minutes later the landscape changed suddenly and, did I mention, inevitably? My wife was driving and, as we topped a rise, a small deer appeared frozen in the headlights of an oncoming car. It was doing its version of an ice-sculpture-imitation in the middle of our lane. It obviously didn’t see us until the close encounter with the front-end grillwork of our beautiful, blue 2007 Camry. Drive the Bambi-infested roads of southern Middle Tennessee at night with any frequency and this type of Close Encounter of the Third Kind is eventually inevitable.
So after keying a first draft of this experience – obviously inevitable – I will spend the morning taking my car wherever my State Farm agent tells me to take it and then packing for Massachusetts. I am convinced that the three bad things are behind us and the negative is no longer inevitable. Would that make it evitable? Yes, evitable seems to be a word according to my online Thesaurus. It means esquivable, previsable, salvable, declinable, or eludible. The last two of those dinosaur-generated synonyms I actually comprehend. So, although bad things may happen to good people – I’m going to stay really close to my wife – and negatives may come in threes, I’m going to exercise my ability to be declinable by eschewing dwelling on what may or may not be eludible on the final (bad word choice), round-trip trek of this holiday season. Was it Doris Day or Dinah Shore who sang decades ago “What will be, will be”? No use worrying about it, since it’s inevitable. Right? Indubitably! God, grand me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change…

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad you all are OK. Let's leave it at 3 and you all have a safe trip from this point forward!

    ReplyDelete