Late last night, after the baby’s 18th birthday party dishes were done, the guests had gone home and most of the family had gone to bed, I went out to the porch to unwind for a few minutes. I hadn’t been there long when I heard a screech of tires followed by a thud. The Deatonville curve strikes again.
My 18 year old baby, now all grown up, Eric was still awake and jumped out of bed when I asked him to go with me to see if we could help. It didn’t take us long to find the accident. A young mother had missed the curve and had driven off the road, went airborne through some young trees and landed on the driver’s side, wedged under the front porch roof of an old abandoned house close the road. The engine was still running, the doors were bent shut and the windshield was cracked but not shattered where she likely hit it with her head. She was awake, hyperventilating, and talking hysterically on her cell phone while her infant son sat wailing in the front seat next to her. The child had been in a car seat in the back of the sedan, but she had been able to free him and bring him forward into the front seat.
I phoned in the accident while Eric talked to her and tried to pry open the doors. Then I left Eric with her and went banging on the neighbor’s house. The neighbor is a former deputy sheriff and I figured he would have a crow bar, not to mention, experience in dealing with car crashes. Out here, you’re 30 minutes to an hour away from help, depending on whether the volunteer fire and rescue personnel are hanging out at the station or are at home and have to go to the station when the emergency calls come in. The county deputies can be close by or an hour away. I felt we needed to at least get a door open and have a look at the passengers to see if there was any bleeding that needed to be controlled until help arrived. But my neighbor wasn’t home, so I went back to the crash site. Eric was still talking to the woman, who wasn’t listening to him at all and who was still hyperventilating and still talking on her cell phone and the baby was still crying.
Once he knew we were going to have to wait on rescue vehicles, my son began prying with his fingers, working with the dented passenger side door until finally it popped free and we had our first look at the baby. He seemed totally unscathed, thankfully. That was precisely when the woman’s grandparents showed up. We handed the baby and the woman’s cell phone to grandma and then Eric and grandpa pulled the young mother from the car. County deputies and the Company No. 5 from Paineville Fire and Rescue arrived shortly after that, followed by more deputies, Company No. 3 from Jetersville and an ambulance. More grandparents and parents arrived. And for a while, the sleepy Deatonville crossroads were abuzz with activity and renewals of old friendships. All that was missing from the reunion was potato salad and deviled eggs.
The firefighters went to high school with the woman pulled from the car. The grandparents insisted they knew me from somewhere even though they’ve lived here all their lives and I’m just a six year resident refugee from another county. The firefighters recognized Eric and me as being related to my oldest son Brian, with whom they work and whom they pulled from a similar crash a couple of years ago. It’s a small community. “We all related.” Somehow.
After a long while, the woman and her baby were loaded up in the ambulance and driven off to the same hospital in Richmond that took such excellent care of Brian when he crashed his car. After the ambulance was gone, my car was no longer pinned in and we drove slowly off, weaving our way through all the big fire trucks and police cars.
I have to admit, there’s a certain rush from such a situation. Someone is in danger and you can help get them out. Mighty powerful juju. Having felt it myself, I asked Eric if he was interested in volunteering with the Fire Department. He said he was thinking about it. He’s a legal driver now and can answer the calls at all hours of the night.
And just like that, another Simoni son pins on a superhero cape. Wow!
When we got back to the farm, Ophelia was having a panic attack from all the hulabaloo, which all went down about 300 yards from here. I went down to the barn and spent some time with the horses. Eventually all the emergency vehicles left and a tow truck came and pulled the car from the nest it had made in the trees. The old house still stands sentinel beside the road, minus its front porch and the Deatonville crossroads are quiet once more.
Took a long time to get to sleep.
But this morning, I had to retrieve my hived swarm from my neighbor’s house. I got it home without incident and had intended on combining it with the split I made a few weeks ago. But when I opened up the split to see how they were doing, there were plenty of bees, nectar and pollen coming in and most importantly, capped and uncapped larvae. That means there was an active queen in the split hive. Over in the old hive, the bees were happily working away, filling the honey super. Another active queen. So that meant I could set my swarm up as a totally new hive. One has become three! When I made that split a couple of weeks ago, my timing was accidentally impeccable. There were swarm cells everywhere and queens enough to go around.
I am officially exhausted. I have a nasty case of the creeping crud. Once the bees were settled, I was determined to consume mass quantities of orange juice, put on a pot of “cures what ails you” and just generally take the day off and rest. Too much excitement this week. But it’s all good.