I don’t know why I never thought to tell you this story before. It certainly is a “My Cooking Life” story. Probably because whenever I think about it, it kind of freaks me out. But then I also wonder at how I managed to get myself and my three little boys out of that scary situation.
Daily Prompt asks today: Daily Prompt: Daring Do. Tell us about the time you rescued someone else (person or animal) from a dangerous situation. What happened? How did you prevail?
I had just gone to the local co-op in Atlanta, Georgia and the Buick Skylark was loaded with a ton of groceries, one boy in the front seat of the car with me and two more younger boys in car seats in the back.
We all piled in and worked our way through the side streets to the highway to go home. It was a hot and sultry afternoon and I wanted to get my food home quickly and get it into the refrigerator. I remember the organic strawberries had been on sale and I had bought a lot of them.
As I merged onto the highway I sped up. I’m not a timid driver, but I never usually went over the speed limit either especially with my precious babies in the car with me. I guess I was trying to get home awfully fast, I thought, as I looked at the rising dial on the speedometer.
I slowed just a little—or at least I thought I would. That ol’ Buick had a mind of its own! It continued to accelerate. Another pump of the brakes. Still speeding faster and faster. A serious push on the brakes. The car was only barely kept in check, yet the brakes did seem to be working.
The boys in the back were nodding off in their seats. The boy in the front was chattering away. The Mom driving was starting to panic as she realized the car was accelerating on its own and not stopping.
As we zoomed down the highway, which was not very busy, I continued trying to slow down and maneuvered the car down the road realizing that soon it was time to get off the highway and back onto regular streets. Streets that had slow-moving cars and stop lights.
I picked my exit—one that went sort of flat for a short distance before there was a stop light and then, if you go right, there’s a big hill. There was nothing to do but take the exit and try it. I could see that there was no traffic, no cars.
“Ramp speed 30 miles per hour” the sign said. Not us! We would exit at over 70 miles per hour.
I glanced back at the two sleeping babies in my back seat and over to my boy in the front. Not sure if he realized something was wrong but he was about to.
I unbuckled my seat belt as we traveled the exit ramp and stood up the best I could in my car while driving down the road. I was putting all my weight onto my brakes which were now only slowing us down because of my physical pressure.
The light was green and I made a right onto a very steep hill still standing on my smoking brakes. I don’t know how I did it so fast without thinking, but I chose a spot to get off the road and stop the car. It was a small group of stores and they were on another pretty steep hill and there was a very long driveway going from the lot to behind the buildings.
I took it. The car slowed enough and I pulled on the emergency brake and brought us to a stop.
Drenched I sat there and looked at my beautiful family. We were all awake and we were all okay. I called my neighbor and she came and got us and our groceries and took us home.
We feasted on strawberries that very day.
I have long since stopped wondering at how fast the whole fiasco went, how much danger we had been in, how badly it could have turned out and how—for the love of God—did I come up with that maneuver on the spot and keep us out of a wreck?
There’s no figuring it out. There was no time to think. I just acted and I clearly recall the feeling of knowing what I was doing and knowing I could make that instant plan work.
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