It was the first! I didn’t make an entry post this day in my journal because we never made it back into our tents once we got up for the day.
We really didn’t have plans and we had been in the car most of the day before. Mom had cooked before I even got out of my tent. She’s a much earlier riser than I am and is kind enough to leave me alone even when I know she is bored out of her mind sometimes. She has never told me that but I’m sure it has to be true with as long as I will sleep sometimes. As soon as I got up I ate the delicious food she cooked. To my sadness, she told me we had forgotten the black-eyed peas! I joked around and told her that was no good because we weren’t gonna have any luck. It was all fun in games but I had no idea how karma was gonna come back at me so very fast.
We decided to go to town for some gas, ice, firewood, and protein shakes to help heal up the burn wound I’d gotten back in Florida. This adventure took quite a while because we went one way hoping for a town just to lose service and realize there wasn’t one. We turned around and drove back by our campground in another direction quite hopeful. To our luck, we came upon a little tiny place with a tiny grocery store and a few little gas stations. We stayed around the town for a while trying to get some stuff downloaded on my iPad for our rainy day coming up the next day. The rain was supposed to hit us that night and we decided we’d have a relaxing full-day enjoying our tents and the covered area that we had this time.
When we got back to our campsite we had a little snack and then decided to go find a Walmart. Surely they would have firewood and we could get a deck of cards for the rainy day as well. I recall when I was backing out I told mom we’d make it back by about 4:30. Plenty of time for us to enjoy a fire until the rain was supposed to hit around 10 pm.
We were are on our way for the 30-minute drive to the nearest store many people hate. We were traveling down a road with two lanes going in our direction which had a speed limit of 65 and intersections with stop signs for the oncoming traffic.
Out of now where mom starts telling me to watch out and this is when I realize there is a car headed right across our path. I slam on breaks and do my very best to avoid this crash but instantly I realize we may be in trouble. All I remember was hearing the loud crash, seeing all white and realizing we were spinning. I held on to the breaks and wheel and did my best to keep us from spinning into the stop sign that I could now see in front of us. I remember seeing that stop sign and thinking it was gonna be what killed us because I felt like we were going really fast and were going to slam into head on with the same impact as that first one. But we stopped.
I felt my mom grab me and ask me if I was okay. I said yes and asked about her. She said yes. I look in the back and ask for Indie. I don’t see her and I have a split moment where I was hoping we left her at the campsite but I knew we didn’t. That’s when I see her crawling up from the floorboard behind me. She’s moving and not whining. Cool! I don’t recall this but I told Mom to go check on the other driver. I looked down in hopes of finding my phone and that was the first moment that I even realized airbag had deployed. I quickly found my phone and tried to dial 911 but it wasn’t going through. I had no service. Great.
Then I realized it seemed like smoke was coming from the passenger side of the car. This is when panic set it. Mind you, I’ve watched one of my cars go up in flames and I heard all the loud explosions that go off with a burning car, and I’ve seen a Hyundai Sonata burn up on the interstate as well. Burning to death is my last exit choice if I have any say.
I start screaming for mom. I need to get out of this car. And my wheelchair is at the campsite. Another point at which I thought, great! A guy had stopped and immediately runs over to my car asking what he can do. I explain to him that I’m already previously paralyzed and I’m okay but I need out of this car. He picks me up and takes me to his truck. And that’s where I sat for the next 45 minutes waiting on troopers and what not.
I never really saw the other driver. She had run two stop signs. I probably would have stayed in my car too I guess. But no, that’s not true. I immediately sent my mom to check on her. My first plan of action if I was her would have been to hop out to see if I had caused harm to anyone, but we simply are not all the same.
Anyway, that fine gentleman took us back to our campsite and I still don’t know his name. But let me tell y’all, he was an angel sent by God that day.
When we got back to our campsite we knew we had to pack up the tents. Mom had a little pain in her neck from the airbag or seatbelt but nothing serious. I felt fine. But we had no idea how we would feel after we slept a bit and especially if we slept on the ground. So as soon as he dropped us off, we started packing up.
All the things that fit into two cars now had to go in one. How in the hell are we going to pull that off?! I don’t think we put much thought into it. We just went to work. I went to work still in what I realize was a complete shock and I’m sure mom was feeling the exact same.
We were almost done with packing up everything and mom began loading the car. She was struggling with my big suitcase and the girl who was our brand new neighbor that day came over to help her. Next thing I know one of the guys came over and asked me if I needed help. Yes. Yes. I need lots of help. I mentioned we got in a wreck and we had 6.5 hours to drive back to Texas so help would be cool. This is when it hit me and I wanted to cry.
I don’t cry. I definitely don’t cry in front of strangers. This is something I’m coming to understand is a stupid mentality. But when you cry people feel sorry for you and I hate it when I make people feel bad. So I have spent most of my 33 years on this planet being hard and keeping my emotions at bay.
Because of this no crying mentality as they are helping me I try to keep talking so I don’t think too much and start crying. I tell them about my cool tents and how Big Agnes has given them to me for free. I talk about my blog. I don’t even remember what I was saying I was trying to just keep the tears away.
Everyone from their site had eventually came over and pitched in and loaded my momma’s car down like the best game of Tetris you have ever seen. As I closed up the door the tears started pooling in my eyes. I wanted to hug those people but I knew if I did I’d cry. To this day I still wish I would have hugged every one of the strangers that helped us throughout that day. There are still plenty of good people in the world.
After I closed my door I didn’t even hear the knock at the window because my emotions were all about to let loose. Mom told me to roll the window down and in came a hand with a card and he told me to get up with him and share my blog with him because he wanted to read it. Turns out that man is Christopher Lecoq. Director/producer of Bayou Wild Tv out of Louisiana! What?! This is surely God’s work, right?! I’ve waited to make contact with him because I wanted to be sure I had this post up first so they could know how much their help meant to me and my mom that day. They were absolute blessings in packing that car. We would have never been able to do it without them. Go check out their show! It’s definitely ran by some nice folks.
So on our journey, we went. I told mom to drive as far as she felt comfortable. We could get a hotel whenever she wanted to. In the back of my mind, I wanted nothing more than to get to my house but I wasn’t about to make her feel like she had to drive that whole way if she didn’t want to. I knew she was just as shaken up about being in a car as I was.
With mom’s sore neck, me sitting Indian style because I had no leg space and Indie sitting on my lap, mom drove that 6.5 hours all the way back to my house. She’s one of the strongest women I know. Seems silly but she hates driving at night, let alone in pain, for 7 hours, after she has been in a wreck that scared the daylights out of her.
Then, when we get home after 1 A.M. I can’t find my keys. I remember putting them somewhere thinking they were useless because I didn’t have a car. But I did have an apartment, and it had locks. After a few minutes of looking, I found them in mom’s purse so off I went to unlock the door.
I unlock the door, flip the lights, and nothing happens. First thought was, I don’t even recall when I paid my last bill, and my second thought was, I sure wish I would have eaten some black-eyed peas this morning.
My luck could not be any worse!
I turn my light on my phone and look through the mail on my table. There have to be some bills here if I haven’t paid one in the last month or so. None. Fine, I’ll go check my mail. My luck is coming back! I find a bill and I’m like way past due. Oops. I go ahead and pay it just hoping we would wake up to hot water.
Mom and I decided to have a much-deserved beer so we sat outside where it was cool and for the first time we discussed the wreck. This was real and I had no car. No hand controls. No electricity. And what felt like no money to solve my problems. And right then and there, my lights came back on. 15 minutes after I paid my bill, my lights came back on. That again was God speaking to me. Now, here I am 28 days later. I have electricity, I have my Subaru Outback with a tow package, and somehow I still have money in the bank.
Another lesson in life. When things get tough, you just keep going.
Don’t think too much cause you’ll bog yourself down.