Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

February 10, 2014

Good news, bad news

Cathie Shaffer
The Independent

ASHLAND — The good news is that I walked away. The bad news is that my beautiful new-to-me car wasn’t so lucky.

I was on my way to work Feb. 4, when I realized as I approached the work area at the new Russell bridge that trouble was heading my way. It came in the form of a car with Ohio plates that barreled through the light and plowed into my poor baby’s front end.

I drive through there at least six times a week, and I’m ultra-cautious because that is a dangerous intersection. My mind did quick image clicks: Green light. Porta-potty truck behind me. Car coming at me. No place to go. So I did what my late daddy taught me to do in such a case. I took my hands off the steering wheel and relaxed for the impact.

All that took place in a split second, right before I heard and felt the crunch of the impact. I found myself in the odd position of trying to reassure the woman who rammed me. I was shaken up; she was shaking as she leaned against my open window and apologized.

When I first got out of my darling Baby Blue, I couldn’t see the damage because the slam-wham came on the passenger side of the car. Once I walked around, I was sick. The tilt of the tire assured me the front axle had broken. No windows were broken, yet my open purse was full of snow, a sign that the frame was bent.

Sadness filled me as my little Chevy was pulled onto the back of the tow truck and taken away. I allowed the ambulance crew to check my blood pressure, but refused to be taken to the emergency room. I knew I’d be sore from the seat belt tightening against my chest, but I also knew I was one lucky, lucky woman.

No, one blessed woman. God was with me in that moment. And so, I believe, was my mother. See, I have her little New Testament in which she wrote in 1970. She recorded her praise to the Lord for saving her and the many blessings He bestows on her family.

This, folks, was a huge one. See, my oldest granddaughter is getting married Saturday night. The next oldest one and my oldest foster granddaughter both graduate this spring. My youngest grandgirl will be getting her driver’s permit next fall. I don’t want to miss a minute of anything.

Nor do I want to miss the chance to hold my great-grandchildren, to travel to my far-flung family in the coming years, to go to another NASCAR race with my daughter, to watch the next blockbuster sci-fi movie with my son.

The experience reminds me of how a minute here or a moment there can change a life. If I hadn’t stopped for gas on the way to work, I’d have been through that intersection before the other car reached the light. If I’d stopped for coffee, like I usually do, I wouldn’t have reached it yet. But that wasn’t how things were to be. That was where I was meant to be at the precise time.

How often do we play the “what if” game? What if my mother-in-law had decided to stay home instead of visiting her sister on a Sunday? She wouldn’t have been in her fatal accident, wouldn’t have died before she got to the hospital.

What if we hadn’t moved to Kentucky? Then my kids would never have met their spouses and our entire lives would be different.

So once again, my late mother’s philosophy was proven true: Life happens, we’re not in control and we need to appreciate every moment we’re given.

Now on the bright side, I have this to look forward to:

I’m going to get a new car!

CATHIE SHAFFER can be reached at cathieshaffer@zoominternet.net