God’s Amazing Grace: “The Drunk and The Fool Who Rode With Her.”

Angels watch over fools the same as they do the saved. (Hebrews 1:14) I didn’t realize this truth until I had several experiences that should have taken my life, but didn’t. I want to recount one such episode I call, “The Drunk and The Fool Who Rode With Her.” Some years before I met the Lord, I was what the older generation called a “rascal of a fellow.” I loved, wine, women, and song, like most people like to eat. And I couldn’t get enough of any of them. I would go for days without sleep because I didn’t want to miss out on anything. And I had a zest for partying like a bee does for making honey. But my story begins not at a party; but during one of my down times. I had been at my mom and dad’s house for a couple of days resting up when an ex-girlfriend stopped by to talk with me. I had the habit of not telling anyone where I was going when I wanted to rest because I didn’t want to be bothered. So I knew if she had found me it was because my best friend had told her where I was.

I remember her visit as though it just happened yesterday. It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon just shortly after one o’clock when I saw her 1970 brand spanking new GTO with less than a thousand miles on it pull into the drive beside the house. She didn’t get out of the car and come to the door. I guess she never came to the door because she knew my parents wasn’t real happy that I had been dating her because she was a few years older than I, and had a couple of small children. So she just sat in her car waiting for me to acknowledge her presence. I walked outside and we made some small talk for a few minutes before she asked me if I would go for a ride with her because she wanted to discuss some things and didn’t want to do it where my mom and dad might hear. I thought nothing of it, so I went and told mom I was going for a short ride and would be back before supper.

As soon as I got into the car I could tell she had been drinking even though it was early afternoon. Everybody I knew drank, so I wasn’t concerned. I made myself comfortable in the passenger seat as she fired that new GTO up and eased it out onto the blacktop road that connected the small town my folks lived in with highway 13 about a quarter of a mile outside of town. When she turned onto the highway she stomped the gas pedal on that GTO all the way to the floor, the rear end began fish tailing, first left, then right, and the tires were squealing leaving twin black marks on the hot concrete pavement, and we were off and running like we had been fired out of a cannon. Let me tell you, that 389 was sweet and she would flat out run. We were hitting one thirty by the time we hit the next exit and came up on the next little town 3 miles down the road in about a minute and half. Still, I never thought anything about the speed we were traveling because everyone I knew drove like their tails were on fire and they were looking for water to put it out. So this wasn’t out of the ordinary by any means. But when we flew through that little town without slowing down; I began to wonder where we could be going if all she wanted to do was talk. In hardly no time we were three miles further down the road and coming upon the next town before crossing the river into Kentucky. So I thought maybe we are going to stop there to get a beer. But when we flew by both exits of this little town without slowing down, I didn’t have a clue what she had in mind. When we passed the last exit I knew we would have to cross over to the Kentucky side of the river to turn around because there wasn’t any place to turn around on on our side. When we came to the toll booth on the Kentucky side she told the operator she had overshot her exit on the Illinois side and just wanted to do a turn-around. The operator nodded okay and she pulled to the side of the road, gave the steering wheel a spin, tromped down on the gas pedal, the tires began to spin in the loose gravel and rocks rooster tailed out from behind that car spraying everything in their path as she headed back through that toll booth with the tires a screaming and the smoke a rollin.

When we came off the bridge and was nearing our exit, I was thinking, “She needs to start slowing down.” She didn’t, but tried to make a 90 degree turn into that small two lane exit at a 135 mph. Needless to say, we didn’t make it. She only managed to get the car to veer slightly toward the exit before hitting the guardrail on my side of the car. I could see down an embankment directly in front of me that was perhaps seventy-five feet higher than the field down below. The embankment was filled with trees many of which were a foot in diameter or better. When my side of the car hit the guardrail the body of the car rode upon top of it; cutting the rubber tires off the rims and in my thinking the tire rims caught below the guard rail. Something kept us from going over the guardrail and into the tree tops just beyond where five people had been killed and their bodies left hanging in the trees five years before. The car broke loose from the guardrail and careened crazily across the highway with metal sparks flying out from under neath it caused by the tire rims cutting into the pavement. We hit the guardrail on her side a glancing blow and was thrown back across the highway with sparks still flying all around us. We slammed into the guardrail on my side for the second time with a crunching sound that can only be made by metal striking metal. This action threw the car into a spin as we headed back across the highway. The car hit the guard rail on her side almost head on; the rear end lifted a couple of feet off the ground, slowly spinning to the left, and settled on the ground with a whump against the guardrail blocking her door from opening. We were facing in the same direction we had been traveling before all of this started.

I was amazed; neither of us had been wearing seat belts but yet we weren’t thrown around the inside of the car. I was still in the passenger seat and she was still behind the wheel. I looked over at her and asked if she was alright. She said, “Yes, I’m fine.” And asked me if I was okay. I didn’t have any pain in my body and was able to move all my limbs, but I did have a slight trickle of blood on the inside of my right arm from a scratch about four inches long. So I said to her, “I’m okay, but your car is a mess.” I remember thinking how fortunate we were to have gone through a wreck like this and all we had between us was a scratch that didn’t amount to anything. And I heard her say, “That’s too bad. I was trying to kill you, and all I did was wreck my new car.” I looked over at her beautiful face surrounded by shoulder length red hair gently blowing in the afternoon breeze, and said, “You’re right. Your car is totaled; and you will never get another chance to kill me.” I got out of the car and looked back along the way we had come and there was grass and dirt, metal, rubber, and broken car parts strung all up and down the highway for a couple of hundred feet. It looked like a disaster area and we hadn’t been gone from my father’s house for more than fifteen minutes. Shortly thereafter a car came along and I caught a ride into town, leaving her sitting in her mess of a car to explain to the police what had happened. I guess she had chickened out when we passed that exit the first time at 135 mph. If she had tried to make that turn then, the results of our accident could have been much different.

You would think a normal person would have gotten down on their knee’s and repented of their sins right there on the side of the highway after surviving an accident of that magnitude, but I didn’t. Instead I went down to a bar in the little town just a mile or so from where the accident happened and drank a couple of beers with some friends and laughed about the whole ordeal. Forrest Gump said, “Stupid is as stupid does.” I was pretty dumb in those day. It would be nine years later before I would meet the Lord and start attending church on a regular basis. One night a couple of years after I met the Lord I was preaching at a church in her home town, when I looked toward the back of the church; there she sat, just as beautiful as ever. But the thing I noticed about her that evening was not her outer beauty, but the glow that was radiating outward from inside her. When the service was over, I walked back to where she was sitting and commented on how different she looked. She told me some years after our adventure that Sunday afternoon, she, too, had met the Lord, and was now engaged to a wonderful Christian man a few years older than I, and was the happiest she had ever been. God’s grace is certainly amazing don’t you think? He saved a drunk and a fool from dying well before their time on a beautiful Sunday afternoon way back in the summer of 1970 because He cares about His children and what happens to them. Have a wonderful day, and God Bless. Dthrash


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