As we raced to the car much later than usual, I paused and braced myself as I noticed the unexpected fog. Jamison felt the need to inform me that, “Fog is actually a cloud on the ground.” And then with a heavy sigh that sounded like a warning he added that he, “hasn’t been tardy all year, but he did have a close call the time Popsy took him to school.” Not wanting to break his perfect “no tardy” record I vowed to drop him off first.
We always pray on the way into town. I noticed this morning that there seemed a little more concern about the foggy roads. Then Austin resumed his routine of trying to locate a radio station that struck his fancy. Suddenly, as if in slow motion and with sheer horror, we all screamed. It was an ugly, gut-wrenching scream, at the top of our lungs. My hands gripped the steering wheel as Austin ducked his head down and simultaneously started sliding down in the front seat. Jamison buried his head in his lap while covering his ears and eyes in the back seat. As if it was a scene straight from Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” a large, black bird decided to commit suicide against my windshield. It wasn’t a pretty death. Mere seconds before the brutality we witnessed, we actually commented about how this large bird was doing multiple loops in the air. We thought that this was a fancy bird and the bird himself seemed quite proud while putting on a show for us. Suddenly he decided he would do one final loop smack into my windshield. With our mouths open, and an “uh oh” expression on this bird’s face, we witnessed all the unpleasantness involved with a head on hit. “Well, huh. That doesn’t happen every day.” I said as I turned on my windshield wipers with wiper fluid to rinse off the ugly scene that now covered my windshield. I discovered only too late that I was out of wiper fluid. I only succeeded in smearing all sorts of blood, feathers, and bird stuff all over my windshield. The boys were in shock and for once they were speechless. It was one of the rare moments that Austin didn’t have a smart remark to make or Jamison offered some well thought-out and lengthy explanation.
Immediately, after the bird shock began to wane, I spotted something in the middle of my lane. The fog concealed it until the very last minute, and noticing that I couldn’t swerve around it, I decided to straddle it. I was thankful that I was in my Jeep which is substantially higher off the ground than the low slung sports cars that Popsy has an affinity for. We heard a terrible grinding sound followed by bright sparks lighting up the road. Since I live out in the country with roads frequently traveled by trucks working in the Eagleford fields, I realized that I straddled a metal wheel to an oilfield valve. (Impressed with my oilfield lingo?) The sound was the large wheel hitting the underside of my car. Austin urged me to pull over on a side road as he hopped out to inspect the damage. “Nothing seems messed up. But do you realize that you have all of these black feathers sticking all over the front of the car? It looks like a scene from ‘Black Swan.’” I smiled smugly knowing that he actually liked that ballet movie although he complained the whole time I was watching it.
I pulled up to the Elementary campus and let out a sigh of relief as I noticed a few people still walking in. Jamison jumped out of the car and ran in with his heels kicking up high in delight that his “no tardies” record was still intact. I noticed a few passersby giving me quizzical looks. My hands reached my hair as I thought that perhaps that were observing my frazzled, early morning, mom hair. “It’s the feathers, Mom,” said Austin noticing my concern. I flatly countered with, “Ok, Austin. Understood.”
I drove Austin to the Middle School and he quickly hopped out and ran to the door before his fellow students observed the feathers covering my hood and windshield. Dairy Queen was in order. I needed a large, diet, cherry Coke with extra cherry to counteract the diet in the soda’s name. I was under the misconception that somehow caffeine would calm my frazzled nerves. After my first gulp and a deep cleansing breath, I walked back to my car prepared for the excitement that might await on my drive back home. I just had to stop and laugh for a moment as I plucked a long, black feather off of my hood. Man, those are some serious feathers. I needed a carwash first.