Oh a random follow-up– so the other night when there was an explosion and the smell of burning and hundreds of sirens, and my sister went up the hill and figured out a car had rolled on the steep curvy bit of road that goes through part of the farm and taken out a telephone pole? And we were sure someone must be dead?
Well the one guy we were counting on to have the story, who hunts on the farm and mows the lawn in exchange, and is a firefighter, was a total dud in terms of gossip. He said he hadn’t heard a damn thing, and what’s more, nobody was talking about it. But he figured, if it wasn’t in the news (it wasn’t), nobody was dead– if someone dies, you can’t keep it out of the news. Another local said he’d seen just airbags everywhere, so he thought it likely that whoever was in it lived because of the airbags– a newish car, maybe an expensive one. Firefighter lawn mowing guy theorized that it was someone with clout, to stay out of the news.
Well, we found out who knew. We went out for dinner, to the BBQ joint just down the street, only a little ways past the foot of the hill where that street comes out. What’s most crucial, I think, is that the owner’s kids go to the local high school.
He confirmed for us that he knew the identities of everyone in the car and didn’t want to get into too much detail, but when he realized that all we really wanted to know was that nobody was dead, he was happy to give us that much detail. And it was as we’d thought- it wasn’t quite 9pm, so we thought they coudln’t have been drunks, so probably kids?
Correct. It was a 17-year-old driver, on one of those provisional-under-18 licenses that expires at 9pm and is good for only one passenger, going a bit too fast– state troopers said 50, which on that road might as well have been rocket-propelled– with too many kids in the car, he had 3 passengers wearing seatbelts and a 4th kid illegally in the hatchback, who was ejected from the car– and he caught an edge, overcorrected, rolled the car, and just annihilated the power pole.
The one kid who got ejected had some pretty serious injuries, but was discharged from the hospital already. One of the other passengers, seatbelt on, had a vertebral fracture, but was walking and all, ought to heal. And the driver wasn’t much injured at all. They were just a bunch of kids being stupid kids, and we all were sympathetic; they were friends of the restaurant owner’s son, and he’d clearly expected us to say mean shit, but I know my brother-in-law was a bit of a wild child, and my own sister once rolled a car stone sober in broad daylight– it’s not a sign of being an evil human to do stupid or sometimes just clumsy things. Don’t do that, kids, but, I mean. Kids do stupid things. At least they weren’t drinking.
It’s a hard lesson to learn, but nobody’s dead.
There was a worse lesson in our home school district, where our mother taught– last week a teenager was driving to school and apparently crossed the center line and collided with a truck, and was killed. Stone sober, broad daylight, dry road, just wasn’t paying attention enough, wasn’t used to driving.
So. Hug your kids, and hope they survive whatever dumb things they get up to, because kids do dumb things, and gravity and velocity are cruel.
Here’s the happy punchline, though. The telephone pole that got taken out had a bluebird house on it. When the utility guys put the new pole up, they noticed, and took the bluebird house off the old pole and put it in the proper place on the new pole.