Friday, February 1, 2013

Oldsmobiles, Stitches, & Falling Ladders

  • My first car, a 1981 Oldsmobile SportOmega, was a unique car.  It was a strange combination of white & gray, with orange and red stripes down both sides, and "SportOmega" blazed across both doors.  It was easily one of the most identifiable cars in our high school parking lot, and gave me a bit of notoriety, which I thought was a good thing for a guy who was not very popular. We only had the car for about 3 years, and it certainly had its problems (when I attempted to take off one of the wheels after getting a flat tire, I found out that the wheel was rusted onto the car!).  But I loved it!  It stood out from the crowd, and was certainly the only car like it on the road.  By the time I had started college, and because I was commuting everyday instead of living on campus, I needed more reliable transportation, so we traded it in for a burgundy 1985 Olds Cutlass.  I wasn't happy at first, since the Cutlass had wire wheels and a bench front seat, and there was nothing unique about it, but Dad said we could get mag wheels and lettered tires. With the new wheels, tires, and all of the chrome, it was really a very good looking car.  I really missed my SportOmega, though.
  • I'm convinced that I have some sort of brain damage due to several head injuries over the years.  When I was a freshman in high school, we were preparing for our annual retreat with the youth group at our church, Bells United Methodist Church, to Summit Lake Camp in Emmittsburg, MD.   It snowed on the Friday we were planning to make the trip, and school was cancelled.  Mom still had to work, so Angie, Darren, and I just hung out at home all day.  Darren and I were horsing around, and I must've done something to make him mad.  He started to chase me around the rec room.  I jumped up on the arm of our couch and started to leap over it, but I hit the top of my head on the overhanging ceiling over the duct work.  I immediately fell backwards onto the floor and passed out for a few seconds.  I came to just as I started to feel the pain, and I laid down on the couch feeling nauseous.  Darren, who saw the whole thing happen, suddenly yelled, "You're bleeding!"  Sure enough, I looked and there was blood all over the pillow of our white cloth sofa.  Mom was going to kill me!  I didn't know just how badly I had injured myself, but I knew I was in a lot of pain.  I got some tissues to cover up the gash and hoped it would stop bleeding.  As it was getting late in the afternoon, and knowing we would have to hit the road for our retreat shortly after Dad got home from work, I took a shower and gingerly washed my hair.  When I finished, I looked in the mirror and checked out my head, since my wet hair allowed me to get a good view of my scalp.  I had a 2-inch open gash on the crown of my skull.  That's when I got scared.  I knew I needed medical attention.  Mom came home and agreed, immediately taking me to a clinic where they stitched me up.  They also warned me to take it easy, that I may have concussion symptoms later.  I was so happy that I wouldn't miss the retreat, and we really had a good time.  And I was able to gross out my friends in the youth group due to the stitches in my head.  It really looked awful!
  • I had a very real close-encounter with God several years ago.  My wife, Teresa, and I were members of the Drama Team at our old church, Montrose Baptist.  We had volunteered to participate in a show being performed at the church, called "Heaven's Gates & Hell's Flames".  The show is used as a tool to reach out to non-believers by showing them that the only way to Heaven and eternal life is through Jesus Christ.  It's a very powerful show, with an elaborate set, many lights and pyrotechnics, and a great bunch of people from Reality Ministries, who travel around the country bringing the show to churches and working with the volunteers and cast members to great effect.  We performed three shows in three days, spending many hours putting the set together and rehearsing in advance, and then breaking down the set after the last performance.  After the final show, while breaking down the set, I was assisting a few people on one side of the stage, while a few guys were using the large, heavy, steel ladder to remove some of the decorations on the high ceiling of the church.  The ladder was leaning at a bad angle against the curved brick wall, and it slipped.  Fortunately, no one was on the ladder at the time, but as it began falling, the guys yelled since it was headed right for me and a woman standing next to me.  There was no possible way we could move out of the way of that ladder.  All I can remember is a blur.  The next thing I knew, I was laying on my back at the back of the stage, four or five steps down below the top, some distance away from where the ladder landed.  Everyone was running towards me to see if I was okay, led by my very frightened wife who saw the whole thing.  She thought for sure I was going to be killed, and she said later that she thought this must be what it feels like to lose your spouse.  The ladder had nicked my elbow, but that's all.  Several people told me they couldn't believe how fast I was able to roll out of the way.  The woman standing near me said that I had pushed her out of the way, otherwise the ladder would have hit her.  I know there was no way I could have rolled out of the way of that ladder, let alone push someone else out of the way.  I honestly believe that God reached down and pulled me out of the way, placing his protective hands around me and protecting me.  That is the only explanation.  After catching my breath, and folks got back to the business at hand, I stepped outside to reflect on what had just happened to me.  I had helped carry the ladder into the church earlier, so I knew how heavy it was.  If it had hit me, it would have put me in the hospital, if not flat out killed me.  The thought that God had protected me shook me so much that I began weeping.  I'm not the type to cry, but this was an extraordinary event.  My wife came out to find me and we both had a good cry over God's goodness.  It's still such a strong memory, and I still remember how I felt that night.  God is just so good!


  1. Hi Eric, This is my first time visiting your "new" blog... it looks great. Thanks for listing my site in the sidebar...very kind of you giving a nod to a heathen like me. You know you have a gift for writing and story telling, don't you? I'm so glad you're making a record of your memories and reflections. It's a gift. Keep writing! And so will I.

  2. Thank you, Ruth! You've inspired me in a lot of ways, especially thru your writing. I can only wish to write like you do. And this may sound like a typical "Christian" statement to make, but we are all heathens and fall short of God's glory. That's why He sent Jesus, to show us the way. Give Him your heart! :-) Best wishes, Ruth! Thanks again.