Hi, this is Linda and I’m taking over the blog today. I was reminded this evening about a story that simply has to be told. Jerry won’t do it, so I’m going to tell it for him.
It came to mind today while Jerry and I were watching the Broncos put a hurt on New England. After watching up close video from one of the sky cams, Jerry looked towards me and said, “I want a GoPro.”
“At what…competitive reclining,” I replied.
“No, I don’t want to go pro; I want to buy a GoPro…it’s a camera.”
“You have a camera,” I said.
“This is a special camera. You can strap it to your head and take videos while you’re doing stuff.”
“What kind of ‘stuff’?”
“Well, you know…you wear it while you’re doing interesting stuff like surfing and snowboarding and motocross.”
“Oh, so you’re planning to give it to someone as a gift.”
“No, I’m going to use it myself.”
“Again I ask, doing what?”
“I don’t know, stuff I do that people normally wouldn’t get to see,” he answered in exasperation.
I felt my eyes narrow and my face take a cold, icy countenance. “Does this camera have night vision?”
“Uh, it’ll record in low light. I’m not sure about night time, but let me check the web site.”
“Don’t bother. If you did get one, you wouldn’t be recording anything at night, trust me.”
“Oh, that’s OK. I mostly want to use it to record the funny things that happen to me. I thought maybe I could add videos to the blog.”
“Oh, you mean like when you had the experience with the pickup truck and the hay field twenty years ago!” I said as my interest was piqued.
“We said we’d never discuss that again, remember.”
“YOU said we’d never discuss that again. I don’t recall my head bobbing up and down at the time.”
“HAVE you ever mentioned that little incident to anyone?”
“Maybe…once or twice.”
“I don’t remember. It’s been a long, long time. Listen, this game’s over. Why don’t you run out and get some wings before the next playoff game starts. We’ll talk about this later.”
The recliner creaked as he got up. Then he put on a jacket, grabbed his keys and headed out the door on a trip to Buffalo Wild Wings. That gives me the opportunity to finally tell a story that Jerry NEVER would. But, it’s too good to be lost in obscurity and I’m pretty sure that the statute of limitations has passed on this. So sit back and listen as I tell you the tale of the runaway truck.
Years ago we lived in another state and Jerry had a job working for a different company. One weekend, Jerry spent both Saturday and Sunday working on a big customer presentation that he had to make on Monday afternoon. He went into work early that Monday so that he could do some last minute preparations before the customers arrived. Fortunately for him, I didn’t have to go into work until noon that day and I was home when he called at about eleven AM.
“I need help!” I heard him say when I picked up the phone.
“Why?” I answered.
“I ran out this morning and left most of my presentation in a folder on my desk at home. There isn’t time for me to get home and back to work before everyone gets here. Can you bring the folder to me?”
“No, I don’t have time to get from here to your place and still make it to work on time.”
“I’m screwed,” he replied.
“Let me think for a second,” I answered. After a moment I said, “If I meet you halfway, can you make it back in time?”
“Yeah, I think I can,” he said with a hint of excitement in his voice. “Start heading my way and we’ll meet somewhere on Route 11.”
Two minutes later Jerry and I were both on the road. To save time, he jumped in a company pickup truck that was parked by the front door rather than take his car from the parking lot. Fifteen minutes later we met on Route 11.
He saw me first and did a moonshiner one-eighty in the middle of the highway that ended with him sliding to a stop on the berm of the road. A few seconds later I screeched to a stop behind him. The driver’s door of the truck flew open, Jerry rolled out and ran towards my car. By the time he reached me, I had my window down and was holding his folder in the air for a swift grab and go transfer. He ran by the window, I slapped the folder into his arms and he turned to run back to the truck. That’s when it all went bad very quickly.
Unfortunately, when Jerry rolled out of the truck he forgot to set the parking brake or even put the truck in park. Automatic transmissions being what they are, by the time he turned to run back, the truck had traveled twenty or thirty feet down the road and was accelerating. I couldn’t see his eyes from my viewpoint but, based on the burst of speed he found, I can only imagine that panic had set in.
He was much younger then and in better shape. If the truck had stayed traveling in a straight line, there’s a reasonable chance he might have caught it. Did I mention that there was a forty-five degree drop off between the berm and the hay field that paralleled the road?
With the driver’s door open and still in drive, the driverless truck was slowly angling towards that drop off. Just as Jerry reached the door handle and tried to jump into the truck, it headed down the slope and pulled the door handle out of Jerry’s grasp. He skidded to a stop and watched as the truck tilted precariously at forty-five degrees while dropping the ten feet between the road and the field. There was no reason to expect that the truck wouldn’t rollover, so he covered his eyes to avoid seeing the carnage. Then a miracle happened.
Just as the driver’s side wheels of the truck started to lift in preparation for the roll, the front passenger side wheel hit a large rock and rolled the truck back on to four wheels. Before the truck had a chance to start rolling over again, it came to the bottom of the slope, leveled out and continued into the field. Jerry was still standing on the berm with his hands covering his eyes.
“Catch it!” I screamed at the top of my voice.
By now, the truck had a thirty yard lead on him and the automatic transmission looked like it had kicked into a higher gear. The speed was picking up and, with each passing second, the truck opened up the gap.
I have to give him credit, Jerry was trying his best, but running across an open hay field in ninety degree heat is not something he’d trained for. After about a hundred yards he dropped to his knees in exhaustion and watched as the truck continued to roll away. That’s when miracle two happened.
The hay in the field had just been cut and one of the bales must have fallen off of the farm truck after it was collected. Jerry’s work truck was headed directly for that bale of hay. Without someone pressing on the accelerator petal, when the truck collided with the bale it didn’t have enough momentum to push the hay aside and the truck came to a stop.
Jerry stood up, stumbled to the truck and took it out of gear. Against all odds, disaster was averted. I made it to the truck shortly after he did and found him sitting in the seat trying to catch his breath.
With pleading eyes, he looked at me and said, “Never speak about this…ever.”
When I got back to my car, I said a silent prayer that my husband was safe. Then I added, “But it would have been nice if you’d have told me to bring a video camera along. You can get good money for footage like that.”
For the most part, I’ve been keeping this secret for twenty years. After that amount of time, I really don’t see the downside of telling it now. Well, no major downsides anyway. Gotta go now. I hear him coming into the driveway. Shhhh. Don’t let him know that I told you the story.
Have a good one!
P.S. Come to think of it, maybe I will let him get that GoPro. They still show America’s Funniest Home Videos, don’t they?