We were driving from Columbus to Chicago for a family reunion. All our children were likewise traveling from their respective four corners to Chicago,
Around 1 pm Tom and I were driving west through Indiana on Interstate 70, about fifteen miles east of Indianapolis, enjoying the bright blue skies and the pastoral scenery of the Midwestern heartland,
Moving at high speed, this tire first bounced into the car in front of us, taking out the car's right front tire; then it bounced off that car and sped straight for us.
My initial thought, in the second or two I watched this tire speed-bouncing towards our car then lunging at us like some live wild thing, was, This isn't happening. But happening it was.
At the moment of impact ― the tire bouncing beneath the front end rather than onto the hood, for which we'd later be thanking God ― our car was thrown several feet into the air; but, rather than flipping over as it apparently should have, our car landed flat on its four tires and, miraculously - and unlike the unfortunate car in front of us that was hit in the front tire - we were able to drive away, shaken but unharmed.
But not too far. We could smell what we thought was gasoline - turned out to be antifreeze - but in a second instance of good fortune following bad, our tire-attack occurred about 1000 feet from the exit ramp to a truck stop.
"You know your car flew four feet into the air?" he asked, recounting the exact details of what he'd seen.
In truth at that moment I was drawing a blank on exactly what had happened. Tom was breathing a little hard. I think we were both in a little shock.
But we now faced the task at hand of getting our car repaired and/or making our way to Chicago. Our Good Samaritan told us there was an auto repair shop a few miles down the road and suggested that if a small leak in the antifreeze line were all we'd suffered we might be able to refill the antifreeze unit then make it to that shop.
"You know you need to be thanking God and all His angels," he told us. I assured him that we were and gave him a long hug.
And so that became our battle plan.
Now that the necessary business was taken care of Tom and I had an hour or so to wait around at the truck stop store.
After replaying the utter random bizarreness of the catastrophe we'd just escaped, the split second that could have caused the tire to bounce through the windshield instead of under the carriage, or could have flipped the car or just as likely have missed us altogether, we concluded that suffering a mishap can leave one feeling more lucky to be unharmed than unlucky for what happened in the first place; and that even an ensuing set-back can seem like not much in view of how terrible the outcome could have been.
We were eventually picked up by a nice AAA tow-truck driver,
So we spent the hours strolling around the (mostly) pleasant little town of Greenfield, Indiana.
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