Aunt Hazel made this needlepoint for my mother, who always had it hanging by the telephone in Ithaca, and it now hangs on my own wall. I don't claim to be man's best friend, and I prefer to be
alone most of the time, but this house on Pumpkin Hill is close to the road, so sometimes I get involved with the human traffic.
When you drive over Pumpkin Hill, the trees fall back and the horizon drops away; when you round the top of the hill at speed, you experience a quarter mile of virtual weightlessness, during which empty Doritos bags and Poland Water bottles float out the windows; folks slip into cruising gear, insert a new CD, light up, make a call, or maybe resume an old argument. Sometimes they just want to bail out:
Stitches in Time
I was out with the chickens one Fall afternoon, when I heard car door and voice commotion down towards the neighbors place; "you hit me." in a shrill voice that made me imagine a kid being bumped by a riding mower. I went out the driveway to see.
A car stood half on and half off the road, the driver side open into road. An elderly man and a younger woman were trying to get a kicking and mumbling older woman into the back of the car. I could see how maybe these two they hadn't noticed her walking along the road, had accidentally hit her, and were now attempting to bundle away the evidence. Cars were coming from both directions now, so I closed the driver-side door.
The two asked me to help get the old woman into the car.
I could see cuts on her legs. They said she had fallen at home and would need stitches, so they were trying to take her to the Aurora "Urgent care center" They said there was a dementia problem
I am sure they were father and daughter and it was all as they said, but I knew the medical center in Aurora was not open on Sundays, so I called 991 while they packed Mother in. They were driving away by the time I got the local dispatcher, whom I told they ought to dispatch some one to catch up with these poor folks headed for the the closed, non-emergency center. I don't know how it turned out for the unlucky lady, or that I was any help at all, so I expect to keep thinking about it.
I can think of at least one old woman in a restless dementia who did come walking this way along route ninety this way. She did a good twenty miles along route ninety without beging struck or picked up, but she must have been navigating by the lake rather than by the road, because when ninety bends up Pumpkin Hill out of Aurora, she took the old road straight along the lake where cottages are in close neighborhoods and people walk,.....so was noticed by someone, and the Sheriff got finally got involved. Had she come over my way, I wouldn't have noticed her passing.
I wouldn't want to be aware of everything that happens on my little stretch of highway, and I'm sure I do miss a lot.
Peter my feed man is an emergency vehicle driver. One afternoon as I picked up some cracked corn he asked me how I had liked the spectacular crash right near my place that same morning. I had been totally unaware of it But Peter said the car had flipped end for end several times, hitting the ground five times before it came to a stop right side up. It had happend at nine thirrty when I was siting right here, and I would have expected to hear it.
The car must have toe-danced so deftly that it didn't make much noise with each touch....and since it landed right side up and not once on the top, the d the jaws of life were not required to extract her from her Toyota.. She walked away uninjured , but she complained of a brake problem,
It might just have been the fault of the place itself. Maybe Black Ice was responsible.
One frozen morning after a misty rain, I thought I heard a rumble of thunder north up the road....but I knew it could hardly be that, so I went out to look.
From my driveway, I could see a car half on the road up past the next telephone pole. The car seemed to be sitting a bit low.
I went down there. The tires were all blown and the roof was a bit mashed, and the two women inside were buckled up, unbloodied, and talking, but the older woman, who had been driving said she, couldn't move her head. I made the 911 call.
The two women were mother and daughter and had just gone out to get a pack of cigarettes. They hadn't been thinking about black ice, or black lung I guess. Now they wanted to call home right away and tell husband/ son-in-law that they wouldn't be back with the car, but they couldn't find the shoulder bag with Mom's cell phone in it.
I found the bag with the cell phone , and some of the other stuff that had been in it scattered along the ditch. Also a whole lot of none of the pieces larger than a maple leaf. Maybe some of the ditch glass was from previous incidents. Mom complained of the cold. I put my coat over her until they had cut the car open with the " jaws of life " tool, and moved her to the ambulance.
The next day, the-son-in-law/ husband appeared, searching along the road for his mother-in- law's wallet. It had been in the shoulder bag and had her driver's license in it. He didn't find the wallet, but he didn't seem to disturbed about it all,d I asked about Mom and he said she had NOT broken her neck. That's a miracle, because the car had rolled over three times and gone six feet up the telephone pole, before eventually landing right side up beside the road .
I haven't heard if there is a whip lash issue, or if they were ever able to find the wallet with the driver's license ; but the next time they have to run out for cigarettes, the daughter can drive.
You better watch out if you drive over Pumpkin Hill at twilight.
One evening this fall as I sat right here with the doors shut, I heard a muffled clatter from outside, and imagined something was after my hens under the deck. But then from out on my deck I could see a big SUV pulled off to the side of the road only fifty feet or so up here. I went out and across the yard.
The Stealth black, high wheel-base plastic- grilled SUV had hit a deer about a hundred feet down the road, and driven it half past my place. A lesser vehicle might have taken it through the windshield..
The car radio was on loud. The deer was in the ditch behind the car, all four legs shattered, struggling silently to get up. . A man and woman stood at the other end of the SUV looking at the radiator. The plastic grill was just about all gone, but the radiator didn't seem to be leaking. We supposed they could drive away.
The fellow guessed the deer had a broken back. I offered to shoot it, so they drove away and I went for the shot gun.
I left the deer in the ditch as a kind of road sign for a couple of days. Be warned: deer like to go up and over a hill instead of around it, so all ways over the hill tend to cross at the top.
After a few days it snowed some, so I sledded the corpse back into the brush for the coyotes and crows.
I hope it's never YOU I have to shoot.