Thankful, Part I

Tomorrow I plan to write my annual list of things, people, and events that I’m thankful for. Today, though, I want to write about one particular event and something that didn’t happen that from time to time (yesterday most recently) pops into mind, completely unbidden (and, honestly, unwanted).

And every time I remember it, I am incredibly thankful things worked out the way they did.

This happened back when I lived in Orem, Utah. I was driving home in the family minivan, going up Gold River Drive, as I did pretty much every day.


I was driving pretty slow — there were a lot of kids in that neighborhood.

Then, I noticed, behind a car — parked just about where you see the one in this photo — one of my next-door-neighbor’s kids. He was just standing behind that car, not walking anywhere.

But he looked skittish to me. Like he might bolt right in front of me, across the street.

So, as I got close, I tapped the brakes, slowing down just a little bit. Just in case he did run.

Which, as it turns out, was an incredibly fortunate decision, though not for the obvious reason.

The boy didn’t move at all. However, the instant before I pulled past the car parked on the right side of the road, the boy’s sister shot out past the front of that parked car on her Big Wheel.

Right in front of me, and right past. She had just zoomed down the sloped yard — between the trees — on the right side of the road, across the sidewalk, in front of the the parked car, and over over to the opposite side of the road.

I never saw her until she was right in front of me, and then she was past. I missed her by maybe two feet. Maybe just one.

The kids’ mom, who had witnessed the whole thing, called out to me, laughing. “I’m glad you’re watching out for my kids!” she yelled.

She didn’t realize that I had never seen her daughter, and hadn’t slowed down for her at all. I had tapped my brakes for a completely unrelated reason — her son looking a little bit like he might make a break for it.

She didn’t realize that I had just not run over her daughter in front of her because of a very lucky accident.

I drove the remaining 50 feet to my house, parked the van, and went inside. Where I sat down on the floor, with violent shakes and nausea. Considering what had almost happened.

And so thankful it hadn’t.

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