Two years ago…

A lone bicyclist made his way on a wide and leisurely country road on a beautiful September day.  He had no idea that, in a millisecond of time, his life would forever change.

Coming up behind him, a vehicle side-swiped him; the cyclist was violently hurled into the air, one foot still in a pedal strap on his bicycle.  Medical, law enforcement and other local personnel responded to the accident scene where all were witness to the severe head damage along with other major bodily injuries suffered by the bicyclist.  From that point, the critically injured man was medevaced to a major hospital for emergency treatment. 

In this community, just about every element of local news makes all the newspapers or other media outlets, but not this time.  Those close to the situation questioned why there were no other news releases about this incident, especially since there is an ongoing debate over “Shared Roadways” here in New York.  Any time there is a vehicle/bicyclist encounter, it’s on the front page of every news publication.   Only one small, subscription-only newspaper, the type usually found in supermarkets, carried the story.   A brief synopsis of the sole article about the accident shared the details, stating that the bicyclist veered to the left as the offending vehicle was passing.  The closing sentence of the article read “Police issued no summonses”.  Names of the two parties involved were not stated nor was any mention made concerning any type of vehicle operator testing done at the scene.

Most cyclists stay to the side of roads whenever possible, except when avoiding debris which may be in their path.  New York is one of 9 states that have a “general law” that provides that motorists must pass bicyclists at a safe distance and speed.  The general speed limit on the road where this accident took place is 50 m.p.h., except on certain winding turns where it is lower.  As on many roads, motorists usually push the limits and in a worst case scenario, if a vehicle is being operated by someone who is “distracted” …on a cell phone, driving aggressively, speeding excessively or…driving under some degree of “impairment”…disaster follows. In any vehicle vs. bicyclist situation, it’s more than obvious just who will bear the brunt of a collision.  The magnitude of pain and suffering goes far beyond this individual who was so viciously struck down and who will never again be the same.  What follows can be an incomprehensible aftermath, as in this case.  A family’s financial and emotional resources have been exhausted for necessary care and therapy and they are left to wonder why there is not more pro-activeness in keeping questionable, even dangerous, motorists from injuring or killing an innocent person.

All of the facts may never be known.  Questions will remain unanswered and the threat of another family being impacted by the careless, even willful, actions of someone who should not be allowed to drive… can happen any time.  Today, I received an email from the wife of the injured man and the words from one paragraph must be shared…

“It’s been 2 years since our lives were shattered on that fateful day. We are still struggling to find the pieces and trying to put them back together, knowing too well that full recovery is a myth and stability elusive at best. We are weary, but we cannot give up. We will soldier on, striving for the best we can achieve. We had hoped to defy the odds, but continually modify our goals as reality dictates. The first year we were fighting for our lives. The second year we were working hard on recovery. Still fighting, but realizing our goals were no longer achievable. We continually readjust as the realization of his capability overtakes us and we mourn our losses. This coming year we will continue our fight, but will look to put some of the joy back in our lives.”

 

workshop-button-1From Mama Kat’s Workshop…What were you blogging about last year at this time? How have things changed? 

Last year, at this time, I started writing this post but set it aside. The family in this story are people I’m proud to know as friends and, like so many others in their huge circle, I admit to feeling helpless in not offering more than the usual thoughts and prayers. For two years, I’ve been an outsider to the death of someone’s dreams, of growing older together and enjoying a lifestyle both worked so very hard to achieve.  I’ve also been witness to an incredible love story which deals with every special moment, however small, that these two people are blessed with.

With regard to bicyclists, I am very outspoken, mainly where there are individuals who cycle recklessly on many roads and almost look to incite negative encounters with motorists.  Here in New York, “Shared Roadways” should mean some type of cooperation between cars and bikes but unfortunately, too many cyclists fail to observe the traffic and other vehicular rules which apply under this “shared” banner.  In no way does this give any motorist the right to threaten a cyclist or drive in any manner which would cause them harm or injury. 

As I wrote, no one will ever know the complete facts in this situation.  Except for one…and he’s still out there on the roads. 

He needs to read this.

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Finger of God…

May 16, 2018, Hudson Valley, New York.  It was a day unlike any other where the air stood still, almost as if frozen, in between the clouds from a green tinted sky.

The heat of that day wrapped itself around everyone like a smothering blanket.  People rushed to various stores with one eye and both ears on the forecast warnings.

Skies slowly darkened, and raindrops started to fall with a pounding force.  Then, the whistle of a freight train.

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Terrifying winds lifted trees from their roots and turned familiar landscapes into images of a war zone.  It was over in a matter of minutes, but the aftermath lasted for weeks.

The proverbial Finger of God, even on the smaller scale of this event, reminded mortals to take nothing for granted.

 

 

workshop-button-1 Write a blog post in exactly 9 lines.  This catastrophic weather event slammed the Hudson Valley and areas of Connecticut a little over 3 months ago.  Residents lost power and phone service for days, if not weeks.  The brief but devastating storm left barren areas where majestic trees once stood, now fallen and tangled with wires.  If anything positive came out of this storm, it was how neighbor helped neighbor through the nightmare. 

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Long-ago, favorite reads…

Now and then, I’ll glance over at the books resting on the shelves in my home office and make a mental note to sit down and re-read one, or more, of my favorites.  Many have been stockpiled for reference material, others, well they just bring back memories of having enough time to sit and allow words and pages help me embark on a much-needed escape.

Then, tucked away in the attic are so many favorite childhood books that we often hang onto.  At least I do. 

Just picking them up takes me back to those simpler times I often write about.  Years ago, grabbing a book was all most of us had, after homework and chores were done and the offerings on television were one or two shows before bedtime.  And yes, how many of us did late reading under the bed-covers, with a flashlight?  Of course, when certain book reading was mandated in school, along with what seemed like those endless book reports, it easily became a chore.  But, for me,  there were stories nestled in between the pages of a few tattered hardcovers that captured my imagination, transported me to distant places, distant times and…brought tears to my eyes.

So, up in a corner of my attic, in a box marked “books” (of course) are a few of my childhood favorites…

The Bobbsey Twins at Snow Lodge…by Laura Lee Hope

Three Golden Rivers…by Olive Price

Cherry Ames, Cruise Nurse…by Helen Wells

Paintbox Summer…by Betty Cavanna

Favorite Stories for Girls…by May Hollis Barton

Death Be Not Proud…by John Gunther

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While writing this, I promised myself that I will sit down outside in our gazebo and read each one of these again.  All I need is the next available quiet afternoon that comes my way.   And, if that doesn’t happen, it’s under the bed-covers with my flashlight once more…for old times sake.

 

 

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My Writing Prompt response to:  Create a list of some of your favorite childhood books.                                

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