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.

You Say Potato I Say Desoto

You Say Potato I Say Desoto

Since Evergreen High School in White Center was so far away, there was no school bus service near us. My folks would drop me off in the morning, but they couldn’t always pick me up. I remember a couple of times having to walk home after classes. It soon became paramount that I get my driver’s license and a car.
There were no openings in the Driver’s Ed class at school, at least not soon enough to satisfy my necessity. So instead we found a private company down on 1st Avenue where I enrolled.
The classes met in the evening, and after covering the basics in a classroom situation we were ready to hit the road.
I admit to being nervous. Not on the side streets where there was little or no traffic, but on the busy thoroughfares with traffic lights and multiple lanes. Add to that the fact that it was night time, and you felt like you were on a tightrope. Come time to take my test, it was day time, and I just passed. Maybe if it had night time I would have done better.
Soon afterwards I got my first car for a couple hundred bucks – a DeSoto, which rolled off the assembly line the very same year that I was born. Though my Dad said it ran like a top, is was definitely not your sporty ride. To my mind it was a clawfoot bathtub, flipped upside down and outfitted with wheels and windows. It was a two tone brown, almost faded pink – but one of the hues showing through in spots may have been actually the primer coat, as if some sand-blasting had uncovered it. But it moved. And it gave me an introduction to a clutch, which had not been covered in my Driver’s Ed class. You used the clutch only to shift into first gear, it was automatic after that.
It got me to school, and to work at the Cinema, and home again. I liked the drive to work, especially the back way through Tukwila to Renton. There was a freeway alternative, but I think the car felt more comfortable with a 35 mph speed limit.
But the Tukwila back way was the site of my first accident. It all happened one day after school on the way to work. I had a friend with me as a passenger. We were approaching an intersection where a bridge connected on the right. The bridge spanned I-405, and came up from the South Center Shopping center to the street we were traveling on.
A car coming up across that bridge either misjudged their timing or did not stop. They collided with us – their front left bumper to our front right. The DeSoto was built like a tank. I watched as the other vehicle bounced off, spun 180 degrees and was propelled back down the bridge hitting the abutment. We came to a screeching halt, and I watched in horror as my friend was thrown forward against the dashboard. As we sat looking at one another my jaw dropped, for the bone of his forehead appeared to be caved in. (For his part he probably thought my jaw was unhinged). He raised his hands to feel his forehead and then spoke to reassure me that all was fine. He told me not to worry, because his forehead had always been like that.
It was all rather confusing after that. I think my father picked us up (he doesn’t remember for sure). Since we were ambulatory neither of us was sent off to the hospital. The insurance companies took over, both vehicles were totalled. The other driver was injured and taken to the hospital, but I never heard much after that.
Fortunately the previous owner of the Desoto had fitted it up with seatbelts. At least for the front seat. Bolted in by hand, they had been secured to the floor well of the back seat.
Thank God for seatbelts.