2008.11.19 Watching my life fly past not a big thrill

Written by David Green.


I’ve always wondered what people meant when they said they saw their life flash in front of them in times of possible imminent death. Last Wednesday, I was able to experience the feeling twice in one day, and I’ve learned one thing—I need a more exciting life.

I was on my way to Morenci when my Buick’s front end started vibrating. The farther I went, the worse it got. I considered detouring to the dealership where I purchased it to have the service department take a look, but the vibration, which now had spread to the steering wheel, had gotten so bad, I wondered if I could even make it to the office.

I did make it to the Observer, barely, and called a tow truck to have it hauled to the dealership. The service manager was standing outside when we arrived and took my keys while I went inside to wait for a diagnosis. I probably should have watched them move the car as I missed all the excitement.

A few minutes later, I was enjoying an outdated magazine in the showroom when the salesman who sold me the car walked past and called me “Lucky Foley,” which seemed a bit odd. When he did it a second time, I asked him why and he replied, “You mean they haven’t told you yet?”  When I asked “Told me what?” he explained that a wheel fell off the car as they were driving it inside.

That certainly explained the “lucky” part. Apparently, the lug nuts weren’t properly tightened the previous week when I had someone else at another garage do a brake inspection. One by one, they worked their way off, with the loss of each one making the Buick that much harder to handle. Finally, the last few feet of driving into the service department was enough to cause the loss of a wheel.

We decided that it was good that I hadn’t tried to drive the car there, or that the Observer wasn’t a few blocks farther north. I even made a joke about not having to see my life flash in front of me. But the day wasn’t over yet.

The dealership repaired the car rather quickly and I was soon off to Wauseon to finish my assigned duties. Afterwards, I bought dinner from a drive-through and headed back to Fayette. As I neared the intersection of 20A and 66, I had a vehicle somewhat close behind me so I was watching my rear-view mirror and the road ahead, rather than the road I was turning onto. Big mistake.

I made the turn onto 66 and was faced with a silver car bearing down on me in my lane. I think it was a Chevrolet, but I was too busy steering and swearing at the time to be sure. I managed to get most of the Buick off the road and stopped, while the silver car continued toward me.

It finally slid to a stop no more than two feet away, almost drivers window to drivers window. I rolled mine down while trying to think of something both clever and non-libelous to say. The other car suddenly took off, finally finding the correct lane. I can’t even tell you if the driver was male or female as it seemed to be full of some sort of smoke. Maybe that was their excuse...they couldn’t see where they were going because their ashtray was on fire.

Remembering that bad luck running in three’s superstition, I very carefully watched for hazards on the final seven miles, driving home while weird little film clips of my life ran through my head.

I remember seeing the beheading of my childhood companion Teddy at the hands of my brother, meeting automotive spokeswoman extraordinaire Linda Vaughan at Michigan International Speedway (if you don’t know who she is, the loss is yours), and the night I hit a horse-sized deer with my old Chevy Caprice. And those were the highlights.

Reliving the deer incident got my attention, as there are plenty of them near that stretch of road to be on the lookout for. And the way this day was going, the chance of a stray ghost or two from the partly-demolished Franklin Elementary building making their presence known was certainly possible. Maybe that’s why I couldn’t see a driver in that silver car. It was being driven by ghosts!

Or not. One thing is for sure, though. I’ve got to get a more exciting life. If it’s going to flash in front of me again, at least I should make it something I’m interested in seeing a repeat of. Ghosts and loose wheels need not apply. Linda Vaughan, that’s another story.

  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
  • Front.chat
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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