Ole Pappy

Winter can be more than hazardous to your health

We had our belated Mascot Christmas Party last weekend — and we had a great time. However, that was the day it was snowing and the roads got very, very icy. As a result, our writer Scott Thoma and friend Amy decided to head back to Willmar a little early.

“The roads were horrible on the way home .. a sheet of ice all the way,” said Scott. Apparently, “A huge gust of wind made my vehicle fish-tail on the highway between Marshall and Cottonwood … I had little control and did what I could to keep the vehicle on my side of the road,” he said.

According to Scott, “There was a lot of traffic and Amy yelled “a semi is coming” …. we honestly thought we were going to die.” His car had slid just a little over the center line.

“We would have hit the semi and there would have been a 10-car pileup. We were pretty shook up,” Scott said. Apparently there was a four-car accident on the highway by Hobby Lobby in Marshall. “One woman was being taken by ambulance. Also, pretty scary,” Scott related.

There is nothing more frightening than a vehicle accident. I’ve been in one of the worst — one that eventually took my wife’s life.

Then there was another. I had a car-load of kids going to a ball game in the Twin Cities when I drove into a town and saw this big semi-truck jack-knifed in the middle of the road with a couple of cars that barely were able to stop sitting in front of it. I saw no way to stop and, as Scott and Amy did, I began to see my life flash before me.

But somehow, I think by the Grace of God, I was able to steer the car into the ditch, drive around the mess and get back on the road safely on the other side. It was a frightening time. Then there was the time when a young man ran a stop sign while I was driving between Lake Benton and Ivanhoe. When he hit me, I saw nothing but white in front of me — and to be honest, I thought I was in heaven.

But then I smelled gas and I realized what I saw was the air cushion that popped up in front of my face. And, of-course, I was driving the car when hit by a semi in the accident that eventually took my wife’s life.

So when Scott relayed the message of how close he and Amy came to a bad crash, I would understand what he was talking about. Knowing how frightening it can be, I really felt for Scott and Amy suffering through this close call. I remember the accident where I saw the white before me.

I was so mad at the young man who hit me, I really wanted to yell at him.

But I didn’t. When I saw him, I thought he was more shook up than I was. By the time the highway patrolman arrived we were both leaning against the car talking to each other like a couple of old farmers. The patrolman said he’d never seen anything like it.

Normally when it’s a two-car crash, he has to pull the two drivers away from each other. There’s no way to get around it. Winter driving in Minnesota can be hazardous to your health. I bet many of you have a story or two to tell about a narrow escape. I’ve seen my share of bad car accidents and I learned one thing about them.

It’s the WORST news story I’ve ever had to cover. I hope I never have to cover another one again. And I certainly hope never to be involved in one again. So glad Scott and Amy were safe from harm. They’re both special people!

LAUGH A LITTLE: You are just fine! The doctor’s office called to let the man know that the results from his blood tests came back and he was just fine. That didn’t suit him. “What’s my cholesterol level?” he asked. “You are just fine,” insisted the nurse. “Still, I’d like you to mail me the results,” he said. A few days later, he received a postcard from the doctor’s office. It read, “Dear Sir, you are just fine!”

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK: As my Ole Pappy used to say, “Strong people stand up for themselves. But stronger people stand up for each other.” Ole Pappy always told me it was best to, “Share the Wealth,” and help others in need.” Thanks Ole Pappy!

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