My Brother’s Accident

My Brother's Accident

I was working the matinee at the Renton Cinemas the day the call came. The show was in, all the tickets torn. All that remained was guarding the entrance, standing by the doorman’s ticket box.

The phone call came in to my Dad in his office. He left immediately stopping by my station to fill me in. My Dad had been called to go directly to the hospital. My brother had been in a car accident and was now in emergency. He had been out riding with friends in their ’65 Chevy Impala SS, and not wearing a seatbelt. They were traveling down I-405 and went off the road. But not just off the road. At this section of that freeway there was a forty foot drop to a narrow lane that ran between a building and a wall that buttressed the freeway roadbed.

My Dad then left. And I was standing there with my thoughts. History between brothers. Older to younger. When we were quite small, I was horribly jealous of my little brother in an unreasoning way (sibling rivalry can do that to you). I used to rage on him with all the spite of my five year old body, striking him repeatedly on the back of his neck. It all came to an end after my Mom took him to the doctor and brought back the report that I was doing severe damage to the nerves in his neck. Fear brought an end to my actions. (It’s been quite a few years now, but I did talk to him about this in the nineties and asked for his forgiveness, and he did).

All I could do was pray. So right in that moment, I laid my hands on either side of the ticket box, bowed my head and prayed. I asked God for the life of my brother. I did not know what his state was then, even whether he was alive or not. The situation certainly seemed dire to me. Minutes passed in this fervency. When I had poured it all out, and there seemed nothing else to add, I stopped.

The prayer was answered.

I rejoiced when I heard that he was alive and would live. But he would be in the hospital for a while. His left leg had broken, a spiral break of the femur bone. So consequently, he was to be in a full body cast for the next three months.

He missed going on the family vacation that summer – to California (and specifically to Disneyland – the first time for all of us). But he was alive, and would live.

I didn’t pray after that time that I can remember. I do remember being grateful. But that was fleeting.

I do not think it strange in the light of this, that for the last thirty years I have had as a main ministry since becoming a believer – intercessory prayer – spending time with the Lord on behalf of other people and their needs.

All praise to the Lord who hears our cry.

Pontiac Descending or I Hit a House

Pontiac Descending or I Hit a House

It was the Age of Aquarius. I wasn’t getting a haircut as often and when I did I made sure the barber left my sideburns long.

I had a new pair of bell-bottom jeans (which my mom said made me look like a sailor – but what did she know?).  I also had a “new” car. I don’t remember how long I had this, my third vehicle, but it was long enough to get into trouble.  The first two, the aforementioned Desoto and the subsequent unmentioned two tone green Plymouth were stolid monsters. This third one was more of a boat – long and wide and despite that, I may say sleek.

It was a 1959 Pontiac Catalina, white outside with a red interior. And it had tail fins – twin twins, two on each side. With the tail lights strategically placed under them on the back panel, it gave the illusion of the glowing red engines of a rocket. And with a 389 under the hood it had plenty of power.

I was all set to go out on a date. My first. But I didn’t know where my date lived. She worked with me at the Renton Cinema behind the concession stand, and had given me her address. I just wasn’t sure that I had taken the right turn off of the main highway.

So what was I going to do? There were no cell phones in that day. No phone booths in sight. And I didn’t want to go all the way home to call. So I backed into the driveway of the first house I saw to ask for directions.

I walked down the driveway and over to the front door and knocked. The owner answered the door and my question. I indeed had the right street, I just needed to go further up the gravelled road and hang a right in the stand of trees at the top. The trouble came when I went back to my Pontiac.

I hadn’t noticed when I backed in that my car was resting on some loose earth on that side of the driveway. I was soon on my back clinging to the open door as my car rolled down the incline. It was a slow but inexorable procession, only stopping when the rear end struck the garage door of the house. And only then was I able to gain my feet. Quite shaken.

After another round with my insurance company, I was on my way. For the Pontiac was in no way impared. I was able to pick up my date, meet her mother, and head to downtown Seattle  – destination the Coliseum Theater, where we saw Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. We both liked Paul Newman and Robert Redford, but she soon let it be known that she was not interested in me.

However, don’t cry for me. Soon after I would go out with another “candy” girl who was interested in me, and later became my wife. Instead consider the rest of the story and never wonder again why guys don’t like to stop and ask for directions.