Friday, October 14, 2016

It happened on a dark night, on a country road....
     End of September, the 28th as a matter of fact, is when it happened as I was driving home after work.  It was a moonless night and the day had been a very long one.  You know the kind of long days were you want it to just be over so you can go home but time teases you by dragging by and pulling every last drop of energy out of you?  All through the day you keep thinking to yourself, if I could just crawl underneath my desk and sleep for a few hours I'll be ok.

    All week it had been cloudy and chilly, which was very unusual for southern #North #Carolina.  Normally, it's still very warm.  All day, the stitching of my clothing had ached against the very pores of my skin.  It felt like sandpaper scrubbing the bark off of a piece of wood every time I moved and walked.  The uncomfortably cold temperature inside my work hadn't helped any.  Just as soon as I got comfortable to really focus on my work I would get a surging hot flash and would have to get out of my coat.  Five minutes later I was cold again.  As soon as my shift was over at 9 pm, I rushed out the door, into my car headed for home. 

     Thoughts of a long, hot shower; sliding into my comfy pajama's and burrowing deep underneath the cover of my warm bed encouraged my haste to arrive home as quickly as possible twenty miles away.   

     Alone in the deep, dark Carolina night I traveled country back roads dotted with houses and farm land were the farmers had previously harvested their crops of corn that week.  At the time this was no concern to me.  I grew up on a farm and was pleased that the farmers were able to gather the crops before rain set in.  Talk of a #Hurricane #Matthew recently in the news meant rain was sure to come soon.

     Less than five miles from home my anticipation spiked when I came upon the last intersection on my route.  Within ten minutes I knew I would be making my last turn on to the dirt road where I live.  Previously harvested corn fields ran parallel of the road I traveled flanked by very deep ditches on both sides.  Up ahead was a sharp curve that banked to the left.  Acquainted with the curve, I was confident in keeping my vehicle on my side of the road at the speed I was traveling.  Entering the curve, I admit I was going above the speed limit. 

     How much you silently ask?  Oh, a little over 60 mph.  I really couldn't tell with my odometer needle.  Come on, have you really looked at how the odometer gauge lines have gotten so small?  Sure the number 40, 50, 60, etc are big enough to see but I have a desk job with not one but two monitors and to top it off I wear bi-focals.  I can't be starring at no dash in my car while trying to position my nose to see where the odometer needle is pointing at 63, 64 or 65.  I do like all the rest, whether you admit to it or not.  I glance at it, take an educated guess and keep it moving. 

     Entering the curve my headlights that was on dim caught a glimpse of something in the road.  A person?  A stray dog maybe?  Heart racing I flip the control for bright lights.  No, it can't be!  I scream out loud to no one but myself and the radio.  I grip the steering wheel with one hand and slammed my other hand down on the horn like there was no tomorrow.  I put both feet on the brakes and began to pray, "Jesus have mercy, Heavenly Father up above...."

     My eyes quickly count 1, 2, 3, 4.....10 and still just as many more were in the road.  I darted my eyes in my rearview mirror and then back in front of me.  Not another car was in sight in either direction.  I made a quick decision, one that had to be made with no dallying.  I pressed down harder on my break with both feet.  I could now hear my tires squealing.  I swerved to the left.  Not a wise choice I can hear you saying.  Wrong or not, I didn't see any other choice.  

     As I came into that curve, what I saw up ahead were approximately twenty #raccoons on my side of the road, stealing corn from the harvested field.  I had never seen so many at one time.  When I shined my bright lights they all stopped in the middle of road and a few of the bigger ones stood up on their hind legs.  They were in every shape, size and color.  Now can you imagine me calling 9-1-1 saying I wrecked in a ditch because of raccoons in the road?  I sure didn't want to hit any of them.  No doubt I would have tore the front end of my car up.  Didn't feel like trying to explain that one either to the insurance adjuster. 

    As it would happen, only to me, when I came to a screeching halt sitting sideways on that dark, country road my mom calls.  I answer through my Bluetooth, "Hey Ma, how was your day?"  Mouth dry I suddenly get the craving for a very, strong ice coffee. 
If I had a dime for every time she asked this question I would be a rich woman.
"Where you at?" 
"Sitting in the middle of the road, trying to find my britches and put them back on."
"What?"  She pulls the phone from her ear while yelling for my dad, "Here Andrew, talk to this gal.  She's talking foolishness again.  She's yours anyway."
"Hey gal what's up."  Dad snickers.  I've yet to find it funny that whenever I do something Mom considers crazy that 'I'm his youngin'.
I begin my spill about the twenty raccoons stealing corn from the field, crossing the road in front of me, minus that I was going 60+ mph.
"Gal, I thought you had more sense than that seeing how you're traveling home late at night. You ought to have deer whistles on that new car of yours."
Hearing Dad talk on about deer, dogs and whatever else is creeping in the deep, dark Carolina night, I step on the gas and continue on my way.

     I arrived home safely that night.  Once I calmed down enough to re-tell my story of what happened down the road in the dark, I pointed a finger at my husband.  "I told you I need a horn with an attitude."  Haven't gotten a louder horn yet, and neither have I seen any more raccoons.

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