She turned the wheel to cut across the gravel mound in the center of the road, and I was thrown into my younger brother’s lap sitting next to me. The story paper I was reading flew into the air, and I felt like I was on a tilt-a-whirl at a traveling carnival.
The gravel road had recently been graded and a 10-inch mound in the middle of the road had been left by the grader. We were enjoying a quiet, sunny drive on our way home from church . Wilma was driving, Glenn was in the passenger seat, and Dick and I were in the back.
The right side of the road was still a little bumpy so Wilma changed to the other side, which looked smoother. As soon as she crossed over, she realized it was a two-lane road and whipped the car back over the mound. That’s when the story from the Sunday School paper abruptly ended. The next thing I remember was being thrown on top of Dick as the car flipped and landed on its right side in the ditch. Dick ended up against the right door and my head struck the back of the seat.
I could hear the wheels spinning and Wilma screaming, “Is anybody hurt?”
Glenn yelled, “Just a little shook up.”
As I sat up, Glenn was standing up and was rolling down the front window. He scrambled through the open window, crouched down and hoisted Wilma out, then Dick and me. It was a funny sight seeing them disappear through the window.
Dick was sobbing. “I’m scared,” he said. All I could think about was my Sunday School paper. I wanted to see how Carl, a boy my age, kept from getting a spanking from his dad.
There we sat, all four of us, on the side of the car, all a little bewildered. “I guess I cut the wheel too quick,” Wilma mumbled.
“You sure did and you almost got us all killed,” Glenn responded. He scooted down the door, hung his legs over the side of the chassis and jumped down to the ground. Then he helped the rest of us down.
We took bodily inventory and discovered that we just had a few for scratches and bruises. Wilma had us hold hands in the middle of the road, and she thanked the Lord no one was killed or badly injured. When she finished praying and said “Amen,” I repeated the “Amen.”
Before long, a farmer came by with a partially-loaded hay wagon. “Hop on, and I’ll take you home.” What a sight we must have been! Wilma’s stockings were badly torn, and her hat was hanging crooked on her head, held on only by the large hat pins she had in it. Dick was still crying, Glenn’s dress trousers were ripped in the seat so I could see his underwear, and I was rubbing a big bump on my head.
As we were bouncing along the road dangling our legs over the hay wagon, Dick asked, “Weren’t you scared, Leon?”
“It happened so fast there was no time to be scared.”
We always prayed for safety when we got ready to leave church. Perhaps God was reinforcing Hebrews 1:14, “Isn’t it obvious that all angels are sent to help out with those lined up to receive eternity with our Creator-God.” (The Message) It could be to get our attention. Our prayer life a little too limited, God our Father wants to hear our voices in prayer more often. Perhaps God needed to teach us not only to listen but also to trust more in the words of the Lord. “Don’t fool yourselves into thinking you are a listener when you just letting the word go in one ear and out the other.” (James 1:22, The Message)
“Didn’t the pastor say something about guardian angels protecting us?”
“I don’t remember,” Dick said.
“Well, you oughta listen to the sermon. With Wilma driving, we’re gonna need all the protection we can get!”
Excerpted from my memoir, Naked With Clothes On