For years, I have argued that seat belts were unconstitutional. The government, I always said, has no right to tell me how to live, drive or what to wear. Find something in the Constitution, I constantly prattled, that says, "Seat belts should be mandatory." Following that up with the proclamation, I do not want a paternalistic government, I am quite able to make health and safety decisions for myself. In fact, I rather fancied myself a free spirit, not well informed but constantly yammering, in a misguided way. However, like all things in life, on a sunny Friday afternoon, a startling experience led me to a more profound understanding as to what the government was trying to avoid.
Now that you have read the above, let me tell you that the government is right in making decisions for people who cannot reach the right conclusions by themselves. We, those who have hammered away at state regulations about seat belts, will come to an unpleasant end. I am not talking about staying alive, although that is the most important, but just a simple "rear ender" made me look like Rocky Raccoon, with a bloody nose and a trip to the emergency room. A black-and-blue-eyed beauty staggering her way through life sporting dark glasses, that would put "Jackie O" to shame. They reach from the brows to the bottom of my nose and I still have purplish blue stripes around my face -- all because I was a free spirit who would not be told to wear a little belt that would have saved this entire trauma.
Kate's car slammed into the back of a Honda on S.C. 321 in York County. The car in front of that car was making a left-hand turn that was not anticipated, so the driver of the Honda did what he had to do, slowed down and Katie with her anti-lock brakes slammed directly into the back of the slow-moving car. Kate was driving a Dodge SUV, which is, in realty, a truck with a pleasant looking dressed-up body. To all those who drive them, we know they are trucks.
I was sitting on the edge of the back seat resting my arms on the driver's headrest. Kate braked, skidded and then rear-ended the new Honda. My face was propelled into that headrest and the rest of the story is simple.
The person in the car who was hit, jumped out, carrying her cell phone and rushed back to our car, opened the back door on my side, dialed 911 and said in a not very well modulated voice, "There has been a wreck on 321 in York County and there is an old woman in the back seat bleeding."
My daughter Leighton had her arms around me by this time trying to mop and assure me that all was well and that I would be fine. I was, until that lady started announcing that I was an old bleeding female. I know that it was lovely of her to call and show such care, but I do wish she could have spoken more kindly of me. She could have said, "A person who is rather long in tooth is having a bleeding episode" or something a little more poetic.
I broke my nose and developed a raging nose-bleed from the result of taking too many aspirin. Of course, in a few minutes I developed a headache that would not be ignored by the most gracious folks on the York County ambulance. They were the best part of the whole experience, charming, kind and more than willing to give good sound advice in a gentle Southern manner: "Ma'am," he said, "you know when we get a little older, the whole body changes, and it seems to be a pretty good idea to have a doctor look at you." He did not call me a bleeding old woman, and I just purred and did what he said. Their names should be mentioned because if you are going to have a wreck in that area, I would do my best to have it when they are on duty. They are a married couple who work together sweetly and highly professionally in what could be a life threatening situation. I am delighted to have met them; they are Tammy and Max Ledford. If anything should befall you on the road, ask for them.
They graciously carried me to the Chester Regional Medical Center emergency room where friends and acquaintances took care of me. Doctor McFarland assured me, after a CT scan, that three of my remaining four marbles are still in place, and I was out in half an hour and home to my dear family, friends and all of those wonderful leftovers.
Along with the trauma, we had a guest whom I had not seen in close to 40 years. She was my daughter's playmate in New Jersey. She came, celebrated Thanksgiving with us, and while here bought a magnificent Paso Fino stallion. She will be back, since he is staying with the Gaston Equine Center to be trained and taken care of by the head honcho, Junior McDaniels, trainer extraordinaire. Tracy Tenner will be here often and she is a valuable addition to our society and a welcome member to my family. At another time, however, I will tell you all about her and what she does for a living. It is a wondrous thing.