Friday, January 05, 2007

Knocking on Heaven's Door

What's your closest brush with death? I've been trying to think of what mine might have been and I think I've been lucky all my life to have very few close calls. Of course there are probably ones that I didn't even know about; a crazy lunatic has me in his gunsights and his rifle jams, a driver runs a red light just after I go through the intersection, I shoo away a mosquito that's carrying the West Nile Virus, or a dozen different things I could never think of. I guess the one thing that scared me the most was the day after I got my dirt bike when I was 18.

The day that I bought my first motorcycle, my only dirt bike, I brought it home very late in the afternoon. In fact, it was dusk when I started riding it. Our house sat in a valley and we had fields right in the front of the house, then across the fields was a creek, and right on the other side of that were more hay fields on the side of a hill. I took it on the hill first, and rode around in those fields until it got too dark to see (the bike didn't have a light). So then I came down and rode through the fields in front of the house in darkness for a long time before quitting for the night. The next day when I went out to ride some more I saw my tracks from the previous night. I'd ridden within a couple of inches of our disk, forgetting it was even there. In case you don't know, a disk is what you pull behind the tractor after you've plowed to break down the dirt. It has several rows of thin, heavy, metal disks that turn as you go. If I'd have hit that the night before I would have been sliced into many bloody strips. That might be the closest I've come to departing this world.

Another incident was when I was hunting and my brother-in-law was behind me. We were walking through the woods when his gun suddenly went off, blowing up the ground behind my feet. "Oh, I guess the safety wasn't on" was all he had to say. Had we been stooping to go through brush or under a tree branch when that happened the gun might have been pointing at my back. My BIL was a fun person, but not safety-conscious at all. Yet another gun-related incident was when my nephew pointed a loaded, ready-to-fire gun at my chest with his finger on the trigger. Not on purpose, but a hair bit more pressure on that trigger and I'd have a lead souvenir in my heart.

Another time was one I don't remember very well. Ok, not at all. It was when I was born. I was a breech birth, and they didn't do C-sections like they do today. My mom said she was in labor with me for three days and I almost didn't make it, and I guess she almost didn't either. Very similar to my oldest son's birth, where my wife's and his heartbeats both almost stopped several times before they did a section to get him out.

All in all not that many serious scrapes with the grim reaper. Something to be thankful for, maybe somebody is watching over me.


Blogger Michelle's Spell said...

Dear Tim,

I'm lucky like you are -- not too many close calls. I have almost drowned three times -- stupid for a lifeguard, but I never claimed to have a lick of sense!

11:55 AM  

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