Most of my opinions are serious but some are light-hearted. Remember when I suggested we candle presidential candidates to see what their insides reveal? It’s important to offer variety because the risk is you’ll turn the page. So politics and public affairs alternate with stories about everyday life.
My goal is to inform and if I make you laugh, that’s a bonus. Someone told me my columns were entertaining and that’s the target I want to hit today. Warning: If you’re easily offended you might want to stop reading.
I mentioned recently that I survived a near-fatal accident when I was a young adult. It didn’t take long for my e-mail to buzz with questions about what happened. Here’s the story.
Being married for two years put us just past newlywed status. We were excited about traveling from Fort Bragg, N.C., to Miami to attend the wedding of friends. The trip began very early so we’d be far down the road before the sun was high in the sky.
That early start created a problem. On the outskirts of Columbia, S.C., I removed my seat belt to get more comfortable while I napped. My husband fell asleep at the wheel of the 1968 Camaro his mother bought him when he was in college. He ran off the road and the right front wheel hit a pothole. When his eyes opened the car was flying through the air upside down.
A state patrolman had just passed us and heard the crash. He returned to the scene and issued Calvin a ticket for driving too fast for conditions. That made sense. The condition was that he was asleep.
Our car was totaled. Calvin was wearing his seat belt and walked away without a scratch. I was badly bruised and bleeding from a head wound. The ambulance took me to the hospital at Ft. Jackson. I picked glass out of my skin for weeks. Mercifully a concussion left me with no memory of what happened. And since I couldn’t remember, I asked everyone the same questions over and over: What happened? Where am I? Am I going to die?
The next day my best friend came from Charlotte to lend aid. I awoke to find her at my bedside crying her eyes out. When it was time to be discharged, a nurse walked into my room carrying a tray, which she presented to me like a turkey that’s the centerpiece of Thanksgiving dinner.
I’d survived being in a car that went airborne, flipped over five times, and landed on its roof.
But this moment was as embarrassing as the accident was horrific: The nurse’s tray held the pink underwear I was wearing when I was admitted to the hospital.
The exchange was uncomfortable despite how cute and matching and clean the lingerie was. Mother always said, “Wear clean underwear because you never know what will happen.” Is it possible she knew about the tray-presentation ritual? Knew that a worse-case scenario would bring me face-to face with a stranger carrying my undies?
I wouldn’t wish that presentation on anyone. But if it has happened to you, please let me know.
The nurse gave me a bag with the dress I was wearing when the accident happened. Someone cut it off me and it was in shreds. The lime green and white seersucker A-line dress was my favorite, and perfect for a summer trip to Florida. I had sewn it myself and was as proud of it as any recipient of the Betty Crocker Homemaker Award could be. Now in tatters, the outfit was no longer cool and crisp. It looked defeated. When life returned to normal I resolved to count my blessings.
Mother’s advice was always for the best and I regret the times I disregarded her wisdom.
The next time I’ll write about something that benefits humanity.
Murphy is a member of the Carrollton Creative Writers Club. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.