Fifth of July
By ice rivers
My mother was an independent and self-sufficient person. She was my transportation for many years. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why I so vividly recall the last time that we were in a car and I was driving.
It was the fifth of July. We were returning to Rochester from Crystal Beach after a fabulous fourth.
Apparently, a lot of other people had the same idea as East Lake Road was one big traffic jam.
The day was beautiful and neither one of us had any particular place to go so we were having one of those mother son chats that have been missing from my life now for the last few years. Those conversations don't seem all that important at the time you're having them because they always were and they always would be. Death was far from our minds on that Independence Day.
Except, it wasn't.
Whatever we were talking about, my mother's words ended with "well, we're in no hurry".
At that moment I looked into my rearview mirror and saw a guy on a motorcycle hauling ass in a white line fever, speeding by dozens of cars in the jam.
I said to my mother "well here comes a guy who's in a hurry to die."
By the time I got the words out of my mouth, the guy was dead.
Four car lengths ahead of me, somebody had decided to turn off the road into a beach parking lot which was directly to the left of his car not more than five yards away from his steering wheel.
He started to make his turn and the guy on the bike drove right into it.
I heard this clicking sound and saw the bike hit the car and saw the rider go flying off the bike about fifty feet and smash directly into a stone wall that separated the beach from private property on the road. When he hit the wall, he broke.
There were four cars in front of me.
The first three pulled off the road and headed for the guy.
I had a decision to make.
I drove right by as did the guy behind me and the cars behind him.
I knew the biker was dead so there was nothing I could do for the dude other than clog up the Road and maybe cause another accident.
Four cars, I figured was enough and maybe two too many.
Stunned, my mother and I had one more mother-son chat after the death on our way home.
That chat concerned God, fate, speed, space, death, responsibility, haste, destiny, empathy, sympathy, reflection, vulnerability, infinity and eternity.
The kind of chat I will never have again but the kind of chat that helped make me the man that I am.