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Patty’s Ponderings: Accidental Witness

Photo courtesy of Mark Walker / Argus Leader

Trying to understand the part that fate, luck or circumstance plays in our lives is a constant struggle. The reason I bring this up? Last Saturday I left my house at around 10:20 a.m. to do laundry and by 10:30 was a bystander in the aftermath of a tragedy.

 I headed towards West 12th Street on Kiwanis and once on West 12th, pointed toward I-29. As I drove along I noticed a large, black plume of smoke which seemed to be hovering over the highway. Almost simultaneously I heard a fire engine, slowed down and waited for it to pass. Once it did I continued toward the I-29 south on-ramp, off of West 12th.

This is where it got scary. Almost immediately traffic halted in both of the double lanes directed toward I-29. The constant wail of emergency vehicles continued and the next strange occurrence was vehicles coming back down the on-ramp going the wrong direction, straight at us! Cars on either side of the on-ramp were jumping the curb to make way for them. I rightly assumed some sort of traffic accident had just taken place on the highway.

The next frightening circumstance was yet another fire engine trying to get past the backed up double lane of cars. The nerve-wracking siren and blaring horn demanded some sort of action from those of us stuck in that morass. The person in front of me and I quickly steered up onto the sidewalk area of the lower overpass and hoped this would provide a space wide enough for the truck to get through. I squeezed my eyes shut and waited for my right side mirror to become a casualty, if not more.

Slowly I opened one eye and then the other. He made it! Now what? Not only did we have to deal with all the cars returning the wrong way off of the highway, we ourselves had to somehow get turned around and back onto West 12th to take some sort of detour. It wasn’t easy, took time and needless to say, (but I will), involved numerous unfriendly gestures from drivers heading east on West 12th who had no idea what transpired between the 10th Street and 26th Street exits on Highway 29.

I finally got back on track, arrived at the laundromat and took a huge cleansing breath. Next I pulled out my PC and checked our website only to find that indeed a horrific accident had occurred, that I and many others had missed being a part of by a mere three or four minutes.

Luck? Fate? Karma? Who knows? Not me, that’s for sure.

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