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I just watched a video on Facebook that was very graphic yet very, very real.
It hit close to home, and it made me feel compelled to write a post today.
For close to a year now I have been providing y’all with Sassy Hour recipes on a regular basis, but I have never told you my thoughts nor expressed my concerns for drinking and driving. That is completely inappropriate of me and, though I should’ve said something earlier, today is as good of a day as any to get my voice out there.
To say my teenage years were full of angst and defiance would be like coating that time in my life in sweet, sugary syrup. I was an absolute nightmare, and I still feel a deep chill in my bones when I think about the pain and confusion I put my parents and my brother through. My thoughts, attitude, and feelings during that time were dark, dismal, and depressing, and I’m still not exactly sure as to what may have caused me to be that way.
I had a wonderful childhood.
My parents were fantastic, my older brother was protective, and the rest of my friends and family were a dream. I was never subjected to violence, abuse of any kind, promiscuity, or unexpected tragedy. In fact, my upbringing was the complete opposite. My maternal grandfather was a Southern baptist preacher so I grew up in the church participating in vacation bible school, bake sales, fundraisers, mission trips, and summertime beachside baptisms.
See…picture perfect…until I hit thirteen.
For whatever reason, at that time in my life I started acting out. I began smoking cigarettes, experimenting with alcohol, and becoming more involved with my friends outside of the church. As the years passed, my character changed and I really stopped caring about anything other than having a good time. By 17 I was skipping school and smoking pot on a daily basis, in love with a boy who I thought was my world, and completely committed to his entire existence.
Oh…I was also absolutely spoiled rotten and was given a 1998 5-speed Mustang GT as an early gradution present from my parents.
On March 17, 1999…three months before I was going to graduate from high school, my world was rattled to the core. I was working as a banquet server at a huge hotel right on the Charleston harbor that hosted an annual St. Patrick’s day party. Working while everyone else was having a good time sucked hard core, but my best friend and I had plans of our own. After we got off work, we went to her house and proceeded to get hammered. Now, at that time, I really wasn’t a big drinker. I prefered pot…and lots and lots of it…and three or four margaritas was all I needed to feel like I was flying.
From what I can remember we drank A LOT that night. Like, a lot more than I was used to partaking in. We were having so, so much fun, and I explicitly remember sitting on the floor beside my best friend with our arms slumped over each other’s shoulders, dressed in our Hawaiian work shirts and khaki pants with shamrock shaped Mardi Gras beads drooped around our necks, swaying back and forth and back and forth as we laughed uncontrollably at something we thought was quite hysterical.
The boy mentioned earlier (we’ll call him E) eventually showed up at her house, and we all decided it was a good idea to leave. I can’t remember where it was that we were going, but I do remember that not a one of us should’ve been driving. I made the decision not to drive myself so I handed my keys over to E who had sworn up and down that he was fine to drive.
Stupid, stupid, stupid.
Several minutes later we were heading down the road without a care in the world…until I noticed that E was swerving…swerving more than anyone should. I remember saying something to him, him telling me he was fine, and then my memories cut to slow motion.
I saw the curb…I saw my car slowly heading towards it…adrenaline started surging through every pore in my body…I was frozen by fear…the car hit the curb…the back end fishtailed…E lost control…we swerved to the right…hit another curb…went airborne…flew through a chain linked fence…smashed into a giant oak tree…and finally came to a stop inches from the front porch of someone’s home.
To this day I believe someone’s guardian angel was on duty that night.
Whether it was mine, E’s, or the 98 yr old man’s whose house we nearly plowed through is yet to be known, and it is one of those mysteries that will never be revealed. We could’ve easily killed that sweet man. If that tree hadn’t stopped our car and if God didn’t have his hand on us, we would’ve flown through a home and inadvertently murdered innocent people sleeping in their beds.
I do know that I am grateful…incredibly grateful to have a protective God who helped us all walk away from that accident with only minor scrapes and bruises. We were all safe…in deep, deep, DEEP trouble…but we were alive and able to face the consequences of our actions.
I wish I could say that accident was a huge wake up call for me and caused me to completley change my life and get my shiz together, but it didn’t. It was’t until I was about 23 that I finally woke up and realized how STUPID I had been. I still can’t comprehend some of the things I walked away from during those years, and it makes me feel as if I was put here for a reason.
For all I know, that reason could be right at my fingertips.
Everything happens for a reason…and if the dredging up of my painful memories and the revelations of my stupidity end up pulling on the heart strings of another 17 year old girl who plans to party with her best friend this New Year’s Eve and she makes the decision to call a cab because she remembers my words today and it ends up saving their lives…then…well…then I can say that more than three people walked away from that night unscathed.
Please, y’all..do not drink and drive.
Call a cab…your neighbor…your parents…your siblings…shoot…recruit your pregnant sister-in-law as your DD. Just don’t drink and drive.
Trust me…the cost of a cab is well worth the expense when doing so may prevent you from going to jail, stop you from losing your car and your dignity, and save the lives of innocent people who you would’ve never imagined could’ve been affected by your stupid decisions.
Getting to know you…
Have you ever been in a car accident?
Has your life been affected by a drunk driver?
Are you going to have a DD this New Year’s Eve?