The Greatest Gift I Received on Mother's Day Was a Driveway

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Yesterday was Mother's Day, and after opening my presents, the kids and I decided spur-of-the-moment to drive half an hour down the road to a movie theater that was having a special Mother's Day retro-screening of Titanic, a favorite movie for both me and Anna, and one that David might be able to sit through.

It was a gamble, but it turned out great. David sat through the whole movie (all three hours and fifteen minutes!), Anna was completely bowled over by how awesome it was on the big screen. We got back in the car and headed for home up the windy back roads through the farmland and then toward the ridge. Our town sits just on the other side.

Everything was fine, until I glanced in my rearview mirror. About half a mile behind us on the road was a really sleek looking convertible. Don't ask me what kind. I'm not a car person, and I honestly have a hard time telling a Toyota from a Honda unless I'm looking at the symbol on the back. It was silvery-gray and it was sleek, and as they drew closer, I saw a bald, middle aged man and a much younger woman in the seat next to him and my first thought was, "Middle-aged crisis car."

My next thought was about how unkind that thought was. The young girl might have been his daughter, for all I knew. I glanced up at the rearview mirror again, and they had fallen back considerably.

And they were on the wrong side of the road, driving straight at oncoming traffic. This wasn't a momentary swerve, either. This was a full-on sustained cruise in the left lane on a winding road, heading up a ridge. I said, "Oh my God, look at him! He's driving on the wrong side of the road!" Anna turned around to take a gander, and shrieked. "He's swerving all over the place, Mom!'

Luckily, David was playing his DS, and completely oblivious. Anna was right: Convertible guy swerved back into the proper lane, and I rounded a sharp curve, losing sight of him.

"I wish I could speed up," I said to her. "He might be back behind us, but if he's drunk or drugged, he could speed up and that wouldn't be good."

"Why?" Anna asked, glancing back and really worried.

"Because we need to keep as much space as we can between us and him. Remember that for when you drive someday. If you see someone driving like an idiot, get as far away as you can."

The Greatest Gift I Received on Mother's Day Was a Driveway
Turn on the highway in the mountains photo via Shutterstock.

We'd rounded our curve and were on a straightaway again, heading for yet another hairpin curve. I watched a car go past in the opposite lane and swerve as he entered the curve, narrowly avoiding the convertible which was now much, much closer and still weaving all over the road. I saw the next curve coming up and I knew if he got too close, I'd have nowhere to go except the other lane, and pray neither he nor anyone else was in it.

What happened next probably happened in about two and a half seconds. I saw the oncoming truck. I heard Anna scream that convertible guy was too close. I glanced in the rearview mirror and he was in the exact middle of the road, only an inch or two from my back driver's side and he was either going to swerve to avoid the oncoming truck and slam into me or hit me and send us into the truck.

My brain registered the opening to someone's private drive just off the curve, and the very large tree on the side of it. And in that split-second, it reasoned that slamming the car into a tree might be more survivable than bouncing off of two cars like a pinball. In a total Jason Bourne/James Bond-esque move, I swerved into the driveway, skidding sideways, and slammed on my breaks.

The convertible flew past as the swerving truck clipped the bushes on the other side of road and my little Kia came to a stop with my bumper a few short inches from the tree. Anna and I took a moment to just stare at each other in shock, and David, who was still playing his DS and must've scored big, because as Anna and I sat there shaking, his voice broke in from the back seat with a loud, "Whoo hoo!"


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