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Angel On My Shoulder

Angel On My Shoulder
As I lay in bed last night at three in the morning last night. My mornings for the past number of months due to illness of a loved one. I wake up multiple times. Sometimes even if there is no noise of pain, or running water to soothe the pains within the body of the pained family member.

I was always that heavy sleeper. As my husband had said back in June of 1989 during Laconia, New Hampshire’s Motorcycle week, “You can sleep through a bomb going off. You were dead to the world. You didn’t hear that M-80 last night, did you?” I answered, “Well, you were freaking out. I wouldn’t of woke up. You woke me up. You like, were leaping out of the bed.”

One night in the late fall of 1982, I was holding my M16A1, seated in a cattle car. A bunch of Marines all lined up seated in the cattle car practically in the same seated position. It was as they drove us to McGuire Air Force base. The ride was a bumpy one in the cattle car. I was over-tired though. So, I stayed in the upright position on my seat. Earplugs for the flight in a C130 in my ears, and I went to sleep on the cattle ride.

Every time during the ride back then in late 1982, I could hear guys as I nodded in and out trying to wake me up or being inquisitive of how I could sleep at a time like this. I was so tired that I nodded off in and out of their conversations and small giggles. Later, in the dead of night 5,000 of us were to be headed to El Salvador. Hours in, they turned my C130 around and we were spared. The conflict was cancelled.

A few years later in 1985 my husband and I were just coming back from a day at the beach. It became cloudy and hazy as we drove home that weekend day. At the time we lived near the outskirts of Paterson in our rented apartment. I suddenly had a strange feeling on Union Blvd in Paterson, NJ. I didn’t want my husband to take us down that route. Yet, I’m not someone that likes to ruffle feathers.

Norm suggested he was tired. As I was too. We began to drive on Union Blvd. Driving behind a station wagon. It was a 1978 ‘K’ car. A boxy kind of vehicle of green with fake looking wood paneling on its sides. As well, with some silver molding on both the driver and passenger side doors that apparently was to make the vehicle look streamlined.

We came to a stop light and sat behind this car awaiting the light to change, along with some movement to advance forward and get home to eat then rest, before work that Monday.

Then as the light changed, a silver and burgundy Volare was struck by a white van that ran perpendicular to us. It flipped the Volare onto its side. The car ripped up pavement as it glided onto its side with the three passengers in it. It was headed towards my husband’s side of our car, head-on it was coming.

As I watched, I realized at the rate of speed the car had been projected towards us, my husband would most likely be killed. I felt helpless for that one second, then I covered up. Seatbelt still on, I covered as if a hand-grenade had gone off. I knew to cover my head and curl my shoulders and body in.

What I heard next landing onto our 1984 Buick Skyhawk we had bought just two months before our wedding that same year, was… the sound of some rocks being thrown onto our vehicle. Then it stopped. I pulled myself out of my covered position. Realizing we hadn’t been hit. The car in front of us somehow got hit about inches from its driver’s side front was missed.  Yet, the metal siding was skimmed off the driver’s side of the car of the K car. And then the Volare somehow bounced off and headed south. Remaining on its side heading southbound Union Blvd another bunch of feet. Still remaining on its side as it came to a stop.

When the crash had finished, we stared at each other. “Whoa. We should’ve been hit.” I remarked. He nodded. I added, “That was coming right towards us.” We then got out of the car. People came out of the woodwork the Volare appeared to smoke. Men pulled the three people out of the car to safety. I checked on the woman in the K car in front of us. She was crying she was mute and couldn’t hear. She also understood sign language in Spanish. I ran into a store to find a Spanish speaking person who knew her. I found out she lived three blocks away.

After emergency vehicles arrived, my husband and I waited for the police. Standing in front of our car now. There were chunks of pavement thrown on top of our new car. The pavement line in the street showed that car was headed right towards us. The pavement’s flaws apparently pushed the inevitable danger out of our way. I call that a miracle.

Every morning now, I’m barely without a grateful thought, multiple times. You see, I’m pretty certain that I’ve witnessed miracles every day of my life. Yet, I know there are many we never recognize. I’ve witnessed miracles in this lifetime as if there were some sudden quantum leap into a law of physics that very few understand.  I could list at the very least a larger than life miracle, perhaps every year or more in my life.

I mentioned to my husband just last night, as schools were closing in our area. That, that in itself was a miracle. That people losing business was actually a miracle. That people being put into an unprecedented, unpredictable crisis’ has the ability to bring about the witnessing of miracles. A method as I’ve said to people very recently, “We just don’t know. This is science, and it’s difficult to have faith when there is no definitive prognosis. So, we take it an hour at a time. We eat as best we can. We do what we can. We pray. And we wait.” Yet, those miracles will only be witnessed to the open-minded, the unattached, and the open-hearted.---Jody-Lynn Reicher


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