Date Night Ending in a Flaming Car

Once again, Kit and I took a day off together to drive up to Amish country in Berlin Ohio. This time it was a Monday, so the various shops were actually open when we arrived. We started at Kit’s new favorite fabric outlet, Zinck’s. where we filled the trunk with inexpensive fabric, notions, and trim. The Amish may be dedicated to a simple, godly life, but they loves themselves some capitalism. Kit and I wallowed around in it for a while at the antique mall, then had an early dinner at an Amish diner with constantly piped-in Christian music.

I did not burst into flame and the pulled pork sandwich was delicious.

We hit a few other places: emporiums for Victorian goods and garb, concrete yard animals and a magic shop. By a strange coincidence, the magic shop owner was a business acquaintance of Kit’s who had been at The Alley before. As he only infrequently came into Berlin from his home over an hour away, it was only the luckiest happenstance that he was there when we were. We three had a chance to discuss our work with Greenlawn Abbey, where the famous magician Thurston is buried and we at the Alley assist to raise funds for rehab.

Our conversation on the dark country roads back home covered two topics: How events come together sometimes to make good things happen against all odds; and Why the Hell our phone navigator was forcing us to take a route home that had us passing every sheep, cow and horse in Northeastern Ohio. About fifteen miles north of Johnstown, we got an idea why we were where we were when we were.

I passed a rather large truck stopped in the oncoming lane. Something yellow was sprayed behind it for a few yards and a small car was stopped in the debris field.

Oh yeah. The hood of the car was crumpled.

And smoking.

It took me a few seconds and about fifty yards to realize that this was a car on soybean truck rear-end accident which had just happened moments ago. I made an awkward three-point turn and pulled up behind the car. I put on my hazard lights to make sure no-one came up behind us and contributed to the accident. I stopped several yards behind it, since the engine had finally caught fire. In spite of Kit’s concerns, I walked towards the burning car. She called 911.

In my adolescent daydreams of superheroics, I would have torn off the door and dragged the driver to safety. Instead, I stood just outside the driver’s open door, assessing.  The driver was alone in the car, slumped over the dash and the remains of the steering wheel. I played out the odds of him having a spinal cord injury versus the guarantee that he would become fricassee in a burning car. A woman was there beside him, another passer-by who stopped, urged him to get up and out of the car. Kit joined in the encouragement as I stood ready to do…something. Fortunately, a local firefighter also stopped, expended his personal fire extinguisher to slow the fire, and stepped in to pull the driver clear of the wreck. The steering wheel evidently was not folded on top of his legs as it first appeared.

The firefighter dragged the injured driver down the road to examine him. I, at least, provided the light on my hip to help examine him. Another local firefighter did a more complete exam as he radioed for assistance. Apparently, in that county, the entire fire/paramedic force is volunteer and just wanders the roads looking for this sort of thing. The driver of the grain truck just stood by, looking more bewildered than anything else. He was an older gentleman, a little taller than myself, with a grey handlebar mustache. I hoped no-one would get us confused.

Kit and I assisted some: Traffic control and hauling the injured further from the vehicle on another passer-by’s horse blanket. By then, the car was completely engulfed in flames and burning steadily. I quipped to Kit: “I promised to show you a good time” which I’m sure caused some consternation amongst the other drivers stopped to see the wreck. At that point, the firetrucks were arriving and we were taking up space, so we left.

It was a quiet drive home after that. When we arrived, we unloaded and Kit went off to bed. When you’ve spent a date day together driving and shopping, nothing can top a burning crash with soybeans.

Kit and I

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