I’ve always heard that most accidents occur close to home. I guess I’ve never really thought about it before, but the memory flashed across the radar screen of my thought processes early yesterday morning. If the General (aka –my wife) had been with me, she would have been terrified. Actually, I was terrified.
I had just turned onto RR 165 headed for Hwy 290 yesterday morning. It was pitch black outside. The time was 5:57 a.m. Just as I pulled on the highway (two lanes/no shoulder) it was as if the dam broke open. I was in the midst of a torrential downpour. I turned the car lights on bright, but the glare of the cascading rain was blinding. The General says I drive by braille (bump, bump, bump along the center stripe). She may have been right yesterday. I couldn’t see anything. Even with the lights on dim, I couldn’t see more than a few feet in front of me.
I knew this stretch of road like the back of my hand. It was only a mile until I would get to the four lane highway headed to Austin. For a moment I found myself wishing I had stayed in bed. Truthfully, if I had waited much longer to leave the house, the low-water crossing between my house and where I was now located would have been impassable. Why is it that the early bird always gets the worm? I should have waited. Worms look too much like snakes for me to want one.
It didn’t seem wise to stop my car on the road. There was no shoulder. Driving without vision can heighten the cortisol level in one’s system. All of the alert sensors in my brain were fully operative. At some point the road curved slightly and I found myself momentarily off the black top with the right front tire of my car. It was probably true of the right back tire as well. I quickly corrected my error and moved more slowly forward in the darkness. I breathed a sigh of relief when I finally made it to the four lane highway and headed toward Austin.
Relaxing a little bit as I headed for work, I opted to push the previous terror out of my thoughts. Unfortunately, it was like erasing everything in my memory including the plans the General and I had made for a late lunch at a pizza place in Dripping Springs before we headed toward Sealy to spend time with our grandkids later in the afternoon.
I left the office at noon. The thought occurred to me that I probably should purchase more cough drops. In the course of every day I find that I need them. That is particularly true in the evening. I’m a creature of habit. That doesn’t always serve me well.
I shop at Randall’s. Consequently, I headed for that location on my way home. Perhaps it was the power of suggestion. The thought of the grocery store prompted me to realize I was hungry. This was my lucky day. Randall’s has homemade soup. What’s an extra five minutes? I had time for a bowl of potato soup with bacon. There is even a section in the grocery store where you can sit at a table and eat.
I thoroughly enjoyed the soup. I was standing in the checkout line to pay for the cough drops when my phone rang. I stepped out of line to answer my phone. It was a friend calling to ask, “How do I order more copies of your book?” I responded, “It’s easy. I’ve got a box in the back of my car.” She said, “I need three books. Your book was the most uplifting thing I’ve read in a long time. I really needed to read it. Now I want to share it with friends.” It was absolutely music to my ears. I promised to immediately drop the books off on my way home. I had never been to their home before, but I knew the housing area where they live. It couldn’t be more than four miles out of my way. I entered the address in my GPS and headed that direction.
Okay, I attempted to abbreviate my visit, but from the General’s perception it was way past my expected arrival time when I got home. She said, “We’ve got to hurry. I don’t think we have time to stop for pizza. We’ll have to eat something that’s faster”. I obviously have “STUPID” tattooed on my forehead. What was I thinking? I said, “So you haven’t eaten?” You can only imagine where the conversation went from there.
We made it to Sealy in time for the ball game. Despite my intent to boycott baseball from the time I was nine-years-of age, I found it an absolutely delightful experience. It gave me a new appreciation for small town living. The stands were filled with folks who came to watch the game. From their supportive and pleasant demeanor, it was clear that it was not their love for the game, but their love for the kids who played the game that drew the crowd. It really doesn’t get any better than that.
At the end of the day, the General and I had the privilege of staying at the Strauss House, a three bedroom, three bath bed & breakfast located in Cat Spring. The place is absolutely amazing. It has been updated to include the latest high dollar amenities, but the turn of the century charm and antique furnishings make it a place where I’d like to spend a lot more time. I could live there and not change a thing.
There was only one surprise. It was abrupt and very attention getting. It probably was a catalyst for the “fight or flight” syndrome in my brain to become fully activated. The time was 12:45 a.m. At first I didn’t know what to think. Were the windows of the house rattling? What was that awful perpetual honking/siren/whistle? It was unceasing!
Did we need to seek shelter? I had a momentary flashback to childhood years when occasionally we’d find ourselves ushered to the cellar at my grandparent’s home because of inclement weather. Who knows? I had no frame of reference, but the incessant sound was unnerving. Maybe we were on the threshold of the battle of Armageddon. It was an abrupt way to be awakened.
I finally connected the dots and realized it was the sound of a train whistle. I had no idea the tracks of the train ran through the bed and breakfast where we are staying, but I’ve been wrong before.
In short order, I went back to sleep only to awaken in the most comfortable bed and breakfast where I’ve ever stayed.
All My Best!