The Rubber Band Man

Peter stretched his chewing gum and bit off a piece. He secured it to the corner of the sagging music poster and pushed it back onto his dark blue bedroom wall. The teen looked up to make sure the album covers were secure on the ceiling. A soft knock at the door signaled the hazel-eyed geek that it was time to impress. He swung the door open to see Lisa, a music-crazed cheerleader type that was way out of his league.

“Is that it,” Lisa asked as she pointed at the guitar hanging behind Peter’s back.

“Yeah, it is.” Peter swung the guitar around keeping the strap over his shoulder. He noticed a smudge and quickly polished the body of the electric guitar with his sleeve.

“Well, are you gonna play it for me?” asked Lisa.

“Sure, yeah.” Peter walked over to his mini amp, plugged the cord into the input jack and grabbed his pick. He nodded toward his ceiling display. “They’ve inspired this song.”

Lisa glanced up, but wasn’t impressed.

Peter started with a simple riff and then looked into Lisa’s eyes as he sang. “It is you … the reason why I live … it is me … that stays our happi…”

“Your too low,” Lisa interrupted. “You’ve got to take it up a full step.”

Peter stopped playing. He didn’t know what to do. He could only play the song in one key.

“If you can’t translate the chords, use a capo,” Lisa said.

“I don’t have one.”

“I thought you were a musician.” Lisa turned and left the room.

Peter’s heart sank. He glanced around the room and spotted his desk. He yanked the draw open and pulled out a pile of rubber bands. Stretching the bundle over the guitar neck, the bands snapped into position above the second fret. He swung his pick across the strings sounding the music two half steps higher.

Elated, Peter ran after Lisa, but the chord pulled taut. His shoulder felt the burn of the strap stopping his movement. He unplugged the guitar and took it off. Peter pulled the stack of rubber bands from the neck and stuffed them in his pocket.

The colorful leaves crunched beneath Peter’s running shoes as he entered the park. He saw Lisa walk into the underpass where the bicycle paths merged. Closing in, Peter heard violin music echoing from the tunnel. He picked up his pace, hoping Lisa stayed to listen to the soulful music.

Lindsey_StirlingPeter stopped to catch his breath at the entrance. After composing himself, he entered the tunnel. His eyes adjusted to the darkness and he was surprised to see a homeless woman playing the fiddle with the skills of a master. The woman started to dance while playing. A couple of children from the small crowd dropped money into her worn cigar box lying on the gravel floor in front of her.

Scanning the crowd, Peter spotted Lisa leaving out the other end of the tunnel. He sprinted after her, but collided with the twirling musician. The fiddle crashed into the cement wall, sending pieces flying to the ground in all directions. Silence fell on the crowd as they watched Peter pick himself up and offer his hand to the musician.

“I’m sorry,” Peter said. “I was chasing after … my dreams.”

The woman watched the crowd dissipate. She bent over and picked up the cigar box that held a couple dollars and a few coins. “Looks like no lunch today.”

“I’ll buy you lunch,” Peter said with enthusiasm. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a bundle of rubber bands. His face cringed with sorrow. “I’m sorry, I only have…”

“Listen kid, it was an honest mistake,” said the musician. “Was that cute brunette the dream you were chasing?”

Peter nodded with humility.

“You certainly have no trouble going after the gold.”

“I keep on messing up,” Peter whispered.

“Join the club,” said the musician. “I trusted a manager that was worthless.”

“Everything has value,” said Peter. “But not always the value we seek.”

Peter looked down at his rubber bands, and then glanced at the scattered pieces of the violin. Grabbing the neck and the cigar box, Peter used the rubber bands to form an instrument. After cutting a hole in the box and attaching the strings, Peter handed the homemade fiddle to the musician.

“Nice work!” the musician said. She raised the fiddle to her shoulder and drew her bow across the strings. The rich tones resounded through the tunnel. People gathered as she quickly tuned the instrument.

The crowd smiled and swayed with the newly manufactured sound. The musician had no fear and played more passionately than before. Peter took several remaining pieces of the broken violin and strapped it together with a couple rubber bands. He set it in the place where the musician’s cigar box once collected tips. People immediately dropped various denominations of paper money into the collection box.

Peter noticed Lisa returned to listen. She saw the unique instrument and pointed at Peter with a face contemplating a question. Peter sheepishly pointed to himself and nodded that the instrument was his handiwork. Lisa smiled and moved his direction. Applause erupted after the final draw of the bow, slowing Lisa’s approach.

A man stepped toward the musician with his hand holding a business card. “I’m Steven Kilpatrick from Maverick Records. Word of mouth put me on your scent and you didn’t disappoint. In fact, your creative approach to music is worth millions. I’ll give you a six figure advance to sign you to our label.”

“You’ll have to take it up with my manager,” the musician said, as she glanced at Peter.

“Well son, what’d ya say?” asked the businessman.

Peter looked to the musician who winked her approval. Lisa took his arm and wrapped it around her. With a sense of pride, Peter faced the businessman. “It’s a deal.”

Everyone in the tunnel cheered. Lisa kissed Peter’s cheek. “You might not be a great musician,” said Lisa. “But, you sure can see the value in the simple things, Mr. Rubber Band Man.”

© 2016 by CJ Powers

 

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The Wonders of Fresh Fallen Snow

The Wonders of Fresh Fallen SnowI woke up this morning feeling like an eight-year-old boy. It was a simple feeling generated by the fresh snowflakes falling past my window. I stepped outside onto the crunchy packable snow with a childish grin on my face.

There was a peculiar stillness in the air that caused me to look around and notice the dark contrasting trees. Splat! Smashed my snowball against the dark wet tree. Splat! Another snowball hit, and another. Soon an image emerged of a rabbit with six-foot ears and its paws outstretched, as if it was trying to cross the finish line before the tortoise.

After laughing at my artwork, I flipped over backwards into the snow. My weight drew me closer to the ground, as I heard the snow crunch beneath my large frame like a musical score from my boyhood. I lifted my arms above my head and spread my legs apart, and then I returned to the position of a toy soldier. Back and forth I did it again, forming the perfect snow angel.

I felt large fluffy snowflakes fall on my face and stuck out my tongue for a taste. The sound of little footsteps approached through the crunching snow and stopped by my shoulder. I turned to see a little four-year-old girl standing in a pink snowsuit with fur surrounding her face. She looked down at me with a quizzical look suggesting it was time to play.

I rolled over and got onto my knees to look into her eyes. Reaching down, I swooped up a scoop of white flakes and packed it into a snowball. I handed it to the little girl and watched a big smile form on her face. She tossed it a few feet and it rolled into a slightly larger ball that gave me an idea for a bit of fun.

Little colorful mittens pressed up against the snowball to help me roll it into a larger ball. We watched the snow roll off of the grass and form another ball larger than the first, leaving a carpet of brown grass in its wake. The little mittens pressed next to my gloves, as we rolled the biggest ball of all.

I strained to lift the midsized ball onto the big one and watched the little girl try to lift the snowman’s head. With a little bit of help she was successful and we quickly placed it on the snowman’s body.

The sound of a sliding glass door was heard and we both watched in amazement, as the girl’s mother walked out in her blue fuzzy bathrobe with a carrot in one hand and a box of raisins in the other.

With approving eyes looking at me, I took the carrot and fashioned it into the snowman’s nose. Then I watched the happy woman place clumps of raisins in each of her daughter’s mittens. After a quick squeeze, her mother took the small packed clumps of raisins and placed them in the snowman’s belly forming a line of buttons for his vest.

The little girl reached high to place the remaining individual raisins into the snowman’s newly formed smile, while I grabbed a couple fallen branches and stuck them into his torso for arms.

Standing back and looking at our snowman, the little girl’s mother took the belt from her robe and wrapped it around the snowman’s neck like a scarf. I added a final touch by placing my hat on his head and we all admired our handiwork.

As we stood in silence in the freshly fallen snow, the little girl reached out her hand and gave mine a loving squeeze. After a warm smile from her mother, I watched the two disappear back into their townhome, which reminded me that it was time for breakfast.

Taking time to be a child on a snowy morning did wonders for my heart, so I took a moment to make some hot chocolate, sat by the fireplace and typed out my morning blog to share the wonders of fresh fallen snow.

Copyright © 2015 by CJ Powers

A DREAM DATE

A Dream DateCaileigh was at it again in her usual style of intruding in the name of caring. She wanted to spare her college roommate from the coming pain that her older date would bring upon her.

“Karen,” Caileigh pleaded, as she brushed her brunette hair from her face. “You can make whatever decision you want…after you listen to me.”

Karen continued primping in front of the mirror and focused on the fit of her new stylish dress.

“Please don’t be blind,” Caileigh whispered in exhaustion.

“I’ve listened.” Karen turned to face her roommate. “Your point’s not valid.”

“But, he’s twice your age.”

Karen chuckled out of exasperation, then fluffed her red hair. “Would you prefer me being a cougar and going after a two year old?”

Caileigh shot Karen a laser-piercing look that could kill. “I’m serious.”

“Caileigh,” Karen said in a consoling voice. “Trust me when I say that you don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m fine. Really.”

Caileigh leaned against the bathroom sink and watched Karen calmly apply her mascara. The situation was frustrating, but Caileigh wasn’t about to walk away from her best friend. She was determined to save Karen at any cost.

“Okay, you’re fine, but what about him?” Caileigh stood tall. “Did you consider he might want to take advantage of you?”

Karen laughed. She couldn’t help it. The entire conversation was one sided and absurd.

“I appreciate you’re well-meaning,” Karen shared humbly. “But you’ll laugh once I tell you…”

“You don’t get it!” raged Caileigh. “Tell me that you’re not this ignorant.”

Shocked by the escalation of Caileigh’s intrusive passion, Karen bolted into the bedroom. She wasn’t going to let Caileigh off the hook for her stupidity. Karen’s eyes enflamed with the desire to watch Caileigh crash and burn in total humiliation. She was no longer going to spare her friend the heartache of her own foolishness.

A firm grip pinched Karen’s arm. Caileigh dragged her from the dresser, where she attempted to balance as she put on high heels, straight to the bed. Pushing her down onto the mattress, Caileigh glared into Karen’s eyes.

“There is something very wrong about you going on this date,” Caileigh insisted.

“Wrong?” questioned an outraged Karen. “It’s about love. It’s the one thing I trust in life.”

“A distorted love, maybe. Does your mother know about this man? What would she say about you dating him?”

“She’d probably give me some good tips. She used to date him.”

Caileigh threw up her arms and encircled the place in the carpet where she had taken her forceful stand. “What!? Are you hearing yourself? Dating a man that was rejected by your mother is crazy.”

Karen’s eyes welled up. She was scared to see this side of Caileigh. She needed something…someone to hold her steady.

The doorbell rang and jolted Karen to her feet.

She wiped her eyes before tears flowed and leaned into a quick step toward the door. The closer she got to the door, the bigger the smile grew on her face. She knew it was her knight in shining armor, as her strength to handle Caileigh grew back to its normal level of gentleness – power under control.

Caileigh’s eyes flushed with fear once she realized he was at the door. She bounded to the door, making her presence known.

Karen didn’t acknowledge Caileigh’s intrusion and opened the door with a big smile.

Her well-built date had a smile broader than Karen’s, which lightened his demeanor to that of a classy man. He some how looked younger and more powerful than most graying men in their fifties, but Karen thought some of that was due to his timing and her need for a chivalrous man.

After gently brushing his handsome suit with her gentle hands, Karen gave him a big hug and welcomed him inside.

“Hey Princess,” he softly greeted her.

“I’ve been looking forward to our date tonight,” smiled Karen.

“I hope so,” beamed her date. “First the chocolate buffet at the Peninsula Hotel followed by two tickets to see Pomplamoose.”

“Hotel!” Caileigh chimed in. “You’re not taking my roommate to a hotel.”

“So, this is Caileigh,” the gentleman chuckled as he extended his hand. “It’s a pleasure meeting you. I’m…”

“… A shark!” the roommate barked.

Caileigh grabbed Karen’s already bruised arm and pulled her behind her back for protection. She puffed up her chest and leaned toward the middle-aged date.

“If she can’t protect herself, I will.”

Shifting to a calming voice, the gentleman asked, “Have I offended you in some way?”

“Karen is half your age. Why don’t you date someone closer in age?”

Karen’s face showed contempt and she grabbed her sweater from the rocking chair and placed it over her shoulders.

“You should be careful with what conclusions you jump to,” the man stated plainly.

“I’m just stating the obvious,” Caileigh rebutted.

“No. You’re casting judgment with little information.”

“You’re twice her age.”

“Well, 30 years.”

“Her mother rejected you.”

The man glanced at Karen with pain in his eyes. Karen reached out and placed her hand on his shoulder.

“I’m sorry,” Karen quietly empathized.

“It’s okay honey, “ whispered the man as he wrapped his arms around Karen and gently kissed her forehead. “Let’s go.”

“Not with her, you’re not,” Caileigh announced.

Karen turned swiftly from her date and glared into Caileigh’s eyes. Holding back deep-seated anger she spoke her words carefully, firmly and in love. “Caileigh, I appreciate your desire to look after me, but you might want to consider listening carefully before making judgment calls.”

A smile came to Karen’s face and she turned back to her date.

“Tonight is special for me. We’ve been going on daddy-daughter date nights since I was in grade school.”

Karen’s dad’s eyes welled up. The love of his life was confessing her love to him. Oh, to be a father of a brilliant, young woman who appreciated her father in spite of the harsh divorce he had endured.

Caileigh stood silent in shock.

“Good night Caileigh,” Karen gently grinned, as she headed out the door.

Karen’s father carefully reached his hand out toward Caileigh. She sheepishly shook hands.

“It’s always a pleasure to meet passionate people,” he said.

Karen took her father’s arm as he pulled the door closed behind them.

Caileigh’s eyes bulged as she plopped down on the couch. She grabbed a throw pillow, covered her big mouth and screamed.

Copyright © 2014 by CJ Powers

Green Soup and the Observant Sharer

Green SoupI pulled into the stone driveway of the old farmhouse and walked up to the back door. The wonderful aroma of dinner on the stove came through the screen and stirred my appetite. I was invited to Stu and Nina’s for dinner and I always counted on being blessed every time I was with them – I was never disappointed.

Nina saw me before I could knock and welcomed me in with her naturally warm personality. Her ability to make others feel welcome was second to none and I instantly felt at home. She politely engaged me in conversation while she shifted back to stirring the green soup on the stove.

The soup was all natural and made from green tomatoes and kelp. It wasn’t dark like pea soup and looked vividly tasteful and healthy. Not familiar with many green foods, I was a bit hesitant with my first bite, but found the flavor exceptional. There is nothing like homemade soup that is made with loving hands.

Stu pulled the barbeque chicken from the grill and greeted me with a smile equal to none. A joy poured out from within him the moment his eyes caught mine, making me feel loved and appreciated. His charismatic lifestyle always made me feel like I was his equal, although he probably had more developed character qualities than I could ever hope to muster.

The quaint meal was delicious and the conversation stimulating, as we ate at the kitchen table next to a wall covered in family photos. I had known Nina for about 25 years or more and Stu for a dozen. The time went quickly as we reminisced and brought each other up to date on our lives and families.

After dinner we cut through the formal dinning room and retired into the living room. Stu sat down and snuggled into his comfy place, I flopped down on the floor and pet their cat, and Nina sat on the floor and leaned back against another piece of furniture. There was no pretense, just open hearts and an accepting friendship in the room.

The conversations ebbed and flowed to everything except for how to solve world hunger. Our words were natural and raw and we all listened with accepting hearts and words of encouragement. I was blessed.

Our conversation took a deeper more heartfelt dive just after I suggested it was time to head home. But, not wanting to miss out on such a transparent and authentic moment, I lingered another hour. Our bond to each other grew richer during that time and we encouraged each other on how to be the best us we could be.

During the conversation Nina suggested that she wasn’t sure how God could use her to help and encourage others. Her shared concern was in contrast to Stu and my charismatic dispositions that tend to put us in a place that brings about more attention and from her humble viewpoint, possibly more importance. My knee jerk reaction was to immediately list out Nina’s remarkable qualities.

“Nina, you influence and touch people everyday with your amazing hospitality, generous disposition, warmhearted kindness…”

“… Your compassion for others is life changing; your ability to speak encouragement into other’s lives breathes life into them…” interrupted Stu.

There it was.

I quickly yielded to Stu’s comments as he continued to share from his heart the things he knew made Nina unique, special and valuable. I watched as her eyes locked onto Stu and sparkled. Her husband was filling her soul with words that she could trust. He was speaking the truth in love.

I’m a romantic at heart and love to watch a couple fall in love again and again. Stu’s words of affirmation filled Nina’s heart to a point of overflow. I was convinced that whoever would cross her path over the next three weeks would be caught in their tracks as a recipient of Nina’s grace, mercy and love. I could see it in her eyes. Nothing would stop her from blessing everyone she would encounter in the weeks to come.

I learned that night that the power of affirmation doesn’t happen without being observant of others’ positive traits and reflecting back those traits by sharing our observations.

Stu had clearly paid attention to his wife and thought about her excellent qualities for some time in order to rapidly share those qualities. Stu also was willing to verbalize those words of affirmation without worrying about how clear or eloquent he may or may not have been.

In that moment, I wanted to become an observant sharer like Stu and open my house to others with the sharing of hearts over a bowl of green soup.

Copyright 2014 by CJ Powers

Freedom to Lead In Spite of Weaknesses

The summer after sixth grade was filled with surprises. One was getting new temporary neighbors next door. The family of five was moving boxes into their short-term rental property when I introduced myself and asked if I could help. Brian and his little brother ran over to chat.

Brian shared how they were building a new house three blocks away, while my next-door neighbor was on a one-year sabbatical in California. It was the perfect temporary living accommodations for their family. And, it gave me a chance to make new friends.

After helping move a few of the boxes, we knocked around playing football in the side yard. Unfortunately, I was called home to dinner, but expected we’d have many more games in the weeks to come. While the fun factor may have played a role in our new friendship, I sometimes wonder if the grade schoolers just liked hanging out with a kid who was entering Jr. High in the fall.

Brian wasn’t the typical grade schooler. He was quite mature for his young age. Because of his maturity, his father signed him up for a newspaper route in lieu of an allowance. He figured his son would be able to make as much money as his entrepreneurial heart would allow. Brian’s brother agreed to work with him, cutting down the time and workload in order to increase the amount their playtime. That gave Brian an idea.

Brian rang my doorbell within seconds of receiving his pay stub booklet for his paper route. He convinced me that if I helped, we could buy all kinds of neat things together like a new baseball for playing catch. Since money was tight in my house, except for around Christmas time, I agreed to help.

The pay stub booklet didn’t come with any instructions or training, so Brian looked to me for the answers. The only thing I knew about the stubs was that the paperboys tore out a stub for every dollar a subscriber paid. Brian was fascinated by my intellect and immediately asked how we should go about working his route.

A sense of importance flooded my soul. I was somebody in Brian’s eyes and I decided to step up to the leadership position he gave me. I had not yet encountered enough of life to understand the simple truth that pride comes before a man, or in this case a boy, falls.

Scanning the ratty booklet, I first suggested he start with fresh looking pages by tearing out all the uneven stubs. This would help give him a more professional look to his new customers. He readily agreed and tore all the jagged stubs out and threw it in the garbage. Then we walked the route.

Boredom filled our souls after walking our first mile together. I was secretly happy that it was Brian’s route and not my own, thinking that this would be my last day helping on the route. It was clear that I had no understanding of the value of money, what a work ethic looked like or true friendship.

A man answered the door at a dark brown ranch when we rang the doorbell to introduce Brian as the new paperboy. After handing him the paper, he asked Brian how much he owed. Brian looked at me with a confused face.

The man stated that he owed money for the last few weeks and suggested that Brian look in his stub book and charge him for any of the uneven stubs that were outstanding. Brian told him that we started fresh with the book, but the man insisted he pay for the weeks he owed and gave us four dollars.

I felt extremely foolish about us tearing off the jagged stubs that represented payments owed. I had no idea that he could immediately collect money where the last paperboy had left off. After all, what paperboy wouldn’t have collected all the money owed before quitting?

I recoiled from that experience and quietly backed out of helping, not feeling worthy of returning to Brian’s side. But that didn’t change Brian’s understanding of friendship. He invited me to the sports store later in the week where we purchased a couple baseballs, some trading cards and bubble gum with his four dollars.

We had a great time playing baseball and football together. Brian had proven his loyalty and his maturity in being a great friend. And I not only marveled as the recipient of his friendship, but I also learned a hard lesson about leadership.

A person isn’t a leader just because he looks or acts like one before others. It’s not until the leader considers those he serves and admits his weaknesses that he will be capable of leading. And with leadership, comes the difficult responsibility of acknowledging when he is wrong and personally apologizing to those he hurt.

As for restitution, I collected up a few dollars and a handful of trading cards to repay Brian for the stubs he pitched. While he was the one that tore the tabs from the booklet, I felt a certain level of responsibility for having directed him to do so. However, Brian’s in his gracious manner, turned down the money and accepted the cool trading cards.

That’s when I learned something even more important. When I admitted my fault and attempted to restore the relationship in a practical way, I let go of the negative emotions that drove me to withdraw from future encounters with my friend. I was freed from that emotional bondage and able to head next door whenever I desired.

Our friendship eventually changed when I started spending more time with Brian’s older sister. Their move down the street caused more changes and so did school starting up that fall. The final blow to our relationship came when their father’s company moved the family out west.

While their time in my neighborhood was short, I’ll never forget our time together, their kindness and generosity, and their ability to make friends. It’s my hope that I’ll always treasure the lessons I learned from Brian and be the leader he always saw me to be.

Copyright © 2014 by CJ Powers

The Gift of Imagination

scribbleOnce upon a time there was a wee little man who wished his imagination was big enough to create a gift for his niece’s birthday. He sat down immediately and started scratching lines and curves on a piece of paper. He was hoping that from the chaos a form of fun art would emerge, but his strokes didn’t look like art.

Nothing looked like anything, which infuriated the little man. Out of sheer anger he scribbled all the more until his paper was filled with a squiggly mess.

His eyes began to water when a wise old owl perched outside of his window.

elf“What seems to be the matter?” questioned the owl.

“I can’t seem to do anything creative,” moaned the wee little man. “I had hoped to sketch out a present for my niece’s party, but my creativity lacks something awful.”

“Not at all,” mused the wise owl. “For I see a cool elf in the picture that will amuse your niece.”

The wee man squinted and bulged out his eyes until he finally saw what the owl had discovered. His hand quickly covered the paper with a tissue and outlined the picture with another color until it was easier to see.

Colored Scribbled elf“It’s amazing!” cried the little man.

He turned from the owl and began coloring the work. It would be a wonderful, humorous gift for his niece. By the time he was finished a large smile formed on his face, but then disappeared.

“What is the matter?” asked the wise owl.

“My niece has a turtle collection and I wished my scribbles had created a funny turtle for her instead.”

“Very well my little friend,” affirmed the owl. “Turn the original scribbled picture upside down, find the turtle, outline it and color it to your satisfaction.”

The man flipped the picture around and spotted the turtle carrying a service tray. He outlined it and colored it until it looked like a fun picture.

Turtle“Thank you Mr. Owl,” said the humble man. “I would never have seen my own creativeness had you not pointed it out.”

“You are welcome,” the owl said. “Now take your gift of creativity to the child and teach her how to see the inspiration that her chaos can bring to our world.”

The wee little man gave a nod, grabbed the picture of the turtle and headed off to the party. He couldn’t wait to see what his niece’s imagination would create.

Copyright © 2014 by CJ Powers

The Perception Changing Crash

My grade school mind raced as I stared out of the back passenger car window. Last night’s Mission Impossible episode was so cool that I projected spy like perspectives into my view. I scanned the surroundings and determined that the parked car across the street from the gas station pump where we sat was more than just a car. Something was about to happen and I needed to figure it out before…

Parked CarDad opened the car door and leaned over toward mom. She had the vacation cash for the trip and he needed money to pay the gas station attendant. But I didn’t let that distraction take me away from the adventure at hand. I had to piece together the puzzle before it was too late.

As dad walked into the station, I focused on the car across the street. Had it been abandoned with a bomb planted in it? Or, was it filled with drugs and dropped off for a later pick up? National security needed my best speculation and I had to figure it out before my dad returned to the car. Maybe the car was placed there as a deterrent to block someone’s movement until a hitman could take him out?

The sound of a motorcycle revved into my view from the far right side. I knew in an instant the man was about to be taken out. In my periphery I could see my dad exiting the gas station counting his change. His timing couldn’t be better.

I fixed my eyes on the motorcyclist as he zip through the intersection and headed straight for the parked car. I braced for the impact, knowing that he would be shot by a sniper and taken out before he could steer around the car.

My eyes widened as I watched the motorcycle ram into the back end of the car. The cyclist was tossed over the car and onto the street. The thud of the impact made my stomach feel nauseous, as I watched the man bounce twice on the pavement. When his body came to a stop he was motionless. I had just witnessed a motorcycle accident and I wondered if the man was dead.

Perspective Changing CrashI was startled as my dad’s car door opened. I pointed across the street and told him that a motorcycle had just crashed. My dad turned to see the mangled cycle. His head slowly moved in the direction of traffic and spotted the man on the pavement. He immediately shouted to the gas attendant to call the police and report the accident.

Dad stuck his head in the window and asked mom to pull the car to the side to clear the pumps for the next customer, while he helped clear the traffic until the police arrived. The traffic was becoming congested with gawkers.

The sound of my dad’s police whistle resounded in the area and cars immediately obeyed his waved directions. Being dressed in his weekend clothes didn’t matter, as all drivers respected the authority he commanded. The first police car arrived and one of the officers took over the directing of traffic.

My mom instructed us not to look at the horrible sight, as the thought of death was making her stomach queasy and she didn’t want us to experience anything bad. She even tried to involve us in singing happy songs, but all I could do was wonder how my make believe was perfectly timed with the devastating crash.

What were the odds? Could a grade schooler’s mind impact reality?

My mind was flooded with questions and thoughts about the moment, which may have saved me from the realization that I had just witnessed a man’s death. The experience was terrible and no one in the family ever brought it up again except for me. I had to share how my dad put our vacation on hold long enough to help the local police.

Having watched a real crash at such a young age altered my perception of motorcycles. While I could handle driving mini-bikes on a camping trail later in my youth, I could never bring myself to driving a motorcycle on the street. Nor was I comfortable twenty years later losing two friends to motorcycle accidents. I also struggled when my cousin had to make life changing adjustments after his motorcycle accident made him a paraplegic.

The odd thing about all of these motorcycle accidents was that not one of them happened to me, yet my emotions took a significant hit each time.

But what ever happened to that man? Did he feel a rush as his body was tossed over the car? Did he feel the intense pain of his landing on the pavement? When his body bounced a second time, did his spirit bounce out of his body like in the movies?

These questions filled my grade school mind well into my teen years and beyond, with no available source to provide the answers. It was a hard lesson to realize that some questions never get answered. And most accidents never bring closure. In this case, I never learned why the man drove straight into a parked car as if he never saw it.

Copyright © 2014 by CJ Powers
art © fotolia.com