With a mammoth impact I pummeled into the van that had turned into my path. My windshield sectioned into tiny squares as it shattered across before me. My little car spun around like a carnival ride and stopped facing the road I’d just traveled. I tried to get my breathing under control, hoping I wouldn’t have an asthma attack, and tried to be calm.

I looked around outside the car. Already, a man was coming past the crumpled mass that used to be my neat, little green Metro. Thankfully meeting his advance, I unlocked and tried to push open by driver’s side door as he pulled from outside. He pulled it back as far as it would go and knelt beside me.

“Would you help me?” I think I said.

“Where are you hurt,” he might have said back. “Your head is bleeding pretty bad.”

He was looking around. “We need something…” he said, “well, here,” and he pulled off the T-shirt he was wearing. “I don’t know if you’ll want to use this,” he almost apologized for offering me something that he’d been wearing.

God bless him, I thought, as if I’d worry about that at a time like this. His shirt sopped wet and red when I put it to my head.

He let me hold his fingers. It’s amazing how that little human-to-human contact raises hope during a time of trauma. Other people and cars were beginning to surround the smash-up that blocked the highway.

“They are on the way,” someone called out. While I held the shirt to my face, I started to think of the rest of me, and looked down to see the broken end of a bone sticking through the skin of my right ankle. It didn’t feel the way I’d expect, didn’t feel much – that built-in kind of shock protection system (there’s probably a name for it) must have kicked in.

“Sorry about your shirt,” I said.

“Don’t worry about that,” he almost laughed at me for being so silly to waste my worry.

“Thanks for helping me.” I felt so indebted as he slipped away when a man from the medical team moved alongside me and described how they were planning to get me out of the car.

A flood of gratitude came over me. It was great that all this help came so quickly to save. It is a marvel that some of them come to the aid of ill-fated people like this every day.

The guy who took it easy with the ambulance because of my leg, the girl who rode inside with me before she went on vacation, the doctor who gently and skillfully stitched up the gash along my right eyebrow, the other doctor noted for his bone-setting expertise who put my messy puzzle of an ankle back together, so many people have helped me.

Now, sitting at a tray table that rolls over my hospital bed, writing on a legal pad that survived the crash with me, I’m thankful for those around me and the way things are because they could be worse.

No, I didn’t have to. I know these pages would be covered somehow and Farm and Dairy readers would understand. Now that the accident is behind me, though, I told the nurse I’d rather work with words on a page than worry about the breaks and bangs that are bothering me.

I’m going to have a new job learning to maneuver a right leg that has turned into a cement block and a left arm in a splint, but I’m smiling because my right hand is able to push a pencil along, same as ever.

There is something bothering me besides my boo-boos. Where is the guy who let me bloody his T-shirt? Who is he? Does he read the Farm and Dairy?

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