Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday Flashback: Near-death experiences

Disclaimer: the phrase "near-death experiences" usually refers to cases where a person is medically dead, and subsequently revived. In this post, I am talking about cases where I came close to dying, but did not actually do so.

I will mention four of these in this post, although there have been others.

1. At age 15, I fell with a telephone pole while doing some repairs at the top of it. This has already been told in full in "Fall on a Spring day".

2. At age 20, while walking the streets of Geneva, Switzerland, my companion and I approached a street corner and the sidewalk narrowed to a few inches, so we were walking single file. Just as I reached the corner, a city bus came around the corner with its mirror just missing the wall. It was at eye level. Fortunately, I ducked in time, as did my companion.

3. A few months later, in Béziers, France, I was on "splits" with a Zone Leader. He was able to drive a car (while I only had a "moped") and I was in the passenger seat. We pulled up to a stop sign at a narrow road which allowed trucks to by-pass the city. He looked both ways (even though it was a one-way road) and then, instead of pulling forward, leaned back and continued talking to me about something. Moments later, he must have seen a car pull up behind him, out of the corner of his eye in the rear-view mirror, so he started moving. I saw an 18 wheeler bearing down on us at top speed and so yelled, «attention!» (French for "look out!). He hit the brakes, and the truck hit us. I can still see each set of wheels going up, over the top of our engine, and down. One after the other, each axle of wheels slammed into and over the car, just inches in front of our faces. Strangely, the car wasn't moved laterally. Just smashed. And, we survived uninjured.

4. When I was approaching 40, and had two young children, my wife and I, along with Elizabeth and Andrew were in our Plymouth minivan, south of Springville, Utah. We were stopped at a railway level crossing by blinking red warning lights. There was no barrier. We waited what seemed like several minutes. No train. Must have been a malfunction of some kind? Just as I was relaxing my brake foot and getting ready to cross, a freight train screamed past. Yet another close call.