It had rained all morning as I headed south on Highway 29 toward downtown Newnan and work.
I passed an accident. Three or four cars were off to the side of the road. A quick glance showed little damage except to one vehicle. Its hood was crumpled up and the front end had extensive damage.
Bummer, I thought, but everyone appeared OK. No ambulances, just a sheriff’s deputy’s car.
I continued on and felt my phone vibrate. I pulled it out my back pocket and noticed there were calls from a couple of other parents, the Little Black Dress and the Eldest Son of Thunder. It was Eldest calling again
“Why aren’t you answering your phone?” he asked in a somewhat strange voice.
“It was in my pocket, I didn’t hear it,” I replied somewhat defensively. Seriously, give me a break.
“I’ve been in a wreck,” he answered.
I ask the first question any parent does – “Are you OK?” Getting an affirmative immediately leads to the second – “What happened?”
I soon learn the wreck I’d passed involved the Eldest and Middle sons, who were headed to school. And, of course, the car that was all crumbled up was the one we had recently gotten for him to drive.
Another phone call. “Why aren’t you answering your phone?” The Dress asked in a “I’ve been trying to reach you because we have kids in a wreck and I am worried and why haven’t you realized that through telepathy and picked up the phone?” sort of voice.
“I’m on my way,” I replied. “I just spoke with him and they are fine.”
By the time I got back to the wreck, a friend of ours was already there. Thank you, Jennifer Underwood. She had given the SONS an umbrella and was standing there with them. Cindy Burkhart, another parent, showed up soon afterward. The wreck was in a pretty visible area, and we appreciate all the concern.
I checked them over again, and they were shaken but not stirred. Or freaked out but not injured.
Eldest proceeded to explain that a car in front of him suddenly slammed on its brakes to make a turn. The vehicle immediately in front of the Eldest, an SUV, slammed on its brakes. Eldest slammed on his brakes, slid into the SUV. The only damage to the SUV was the bumper came off.
The Nissan Eldest was driving was totaled.
“It wasn’t my fault,” Eldest explained.
“And that’s because …” I prodded.
“I hydroplaned into the car. Plus, I was following the three-second rule as I was supposed to.”
I always thought it was a two-second gap, but kudos to him for adding an extra second, even though that will not fix a totaled car.
So I tried to bring Eldest back to reality, explaining that if he’d hit someone in the back then it was his fault. The number of seconds, hydroplaning, the phase of the moon and whatever else did not matter.
He refused to accept that. “So you’re telling me if I was half a mile away and I hydroplaned into the back of a car, that would be my fault,” he said in what can only be described as disbelief.
“That would be a ‘yes.’” I replied. Being as he is 17, Eldest begins to inform me how that is wrong and I am wrong and I know nothing and … thankfully, the LBD finally shows up because, to be honest, I’m starting to get a little ticked over this whole “not my fault” mantra.
I am instructed to calm down by The Dress. That came after I commented that HER SON did not understand the concept of being AT FAULT because HE hit someone in THE REAR.
“At least they are OK and didn’t slide into oncoming traffic and …”
Which brings you back to reality and thankfulness pretty darn quickly. Because earlier this week the newspaper covered another accident. It involved a recent Newnan High School graduate who was killed in a single-vehicle wreck. The other occupant was seriously injured.
The caller ID on that phone call that morning showed by son’s name. It did not show that of the Georgia State Patrol.
For that I am beyond grateful. I can replace a car. Not a child.
But for all of you kids, slow down. You are not immortal.
Until next time.