Today started out pretty tame. RJ and Meg went down for a nap, and I set out to liquify the thin layer of snow left over from last night’s cleaning. I opened up the valve on the homeboni full-bore and started flooding. I completed a full pass and was surprised at how little slush I was seeing. Normally, when resurfacing over snow, I end up having to trail the homeboni with a shovel and toss the slush aside, lest it freeze in giant clumps on the ice. But yesterday, for whatever reason, it was going very well. The wind was strong, but the backyard was quiet, save for the creaking of oaks and pines.
Then I heard it.
We live on a busy road, so it’s not unusual to hear cars ripping up and down the street. But this was different. It was more of a loud SHHHHHHHHHHHHH. My gaze turned streetward. There was a sharp BANG. Then a loud, thundering BOOM. I turned completely around, ignoring the flow of water out of the homeboni, just in time to see a car go head over heels, landing on its roof, directly in front of my house. In the interest of keeping this site PG, I’ll omit the first words out of my mouth. But know that they started with “Holy”, and ended with a pair of words that I’d punish my son for saying. I dropped the homeboni and ran towards the spigot. I turned it furiously, then decided that I couldn’t do much without my phone. I ran as fast as someone in winter boots, a pair of Carhart bib pants, and winter coat could run, entering the house through the back door. I grabbed my phone and had 911 on the line before I made it back around the house, chugging towards the road. With the snow still hard and crusty, it seemed to take forever. My mind raced. What would I find? I have no medical training aside from knowing the Heimlich, so I forced myself to stay calm. I was relieved to make it to the top of the little rise that leads to the road and see three people standing near the back of the truck. I was out of breath, and looked towards the driver’s area, fully expecting to see blood and carnage. Between footsteps, I listened for that god-awful sound of a human being in agony. “Is there anyone in there?” I said to one of the guys standing up. “Yeah, us,” he said, pointing towards one of the other two. I was dumbfounded. “Are you guys ok?” I said incredulously. “Yeah, we’re fine,” he said, holding what looked to be a cut on his hand. Still half talking to the 911 operator, I excitedly told him between gasps that there were two occupants, and that they were both outside the car and standing up. A car had stopped right behind them, and the occupants of that car were helping the driver with his bloody hand. Within five minutes, we were joined by Hooksett PD, Hooksett Fire, and an ambulance. I hung up with the 911 operator, and returned to my rink.
In my panic, I had dropped the homeboni, which meant that the towel was frozen to the ice. I turned the water back on, and slowly pried the towel off the ice. I must have pulled too hard, because the shaft snapped in half. Annoyed but obviously humbled by what I’d just seen, I decided my resurface had been exciting enough, and brought the whole rig inside.
Turns out the two 17-year-olds were going to Home Depot, and lost control on some leftover snow and ice. They were not wearing seatbelts.
They say it’s better to be lucky than good. In this particular situation, those kids were extremely lucky. I hope that they take this as a lesson – to slow down on bad roads, to wear their seatbelts, and to respect what a vehicle can do. I’ll take those same lessons to heart as well after seeing what can happen if you aren’t careful. And I’ll always remember the breezy Saturday afternoon that I simply set out to flood my rink.