Up Close and Personal with Grandpa's Chevy

*Story Prompt: Write or record a story about a life-threatening accident, illness or encounter from which you narrowly escaped.*

I'm not sure if this is technically life-threatening, but it certainly could have been had things gone a little differently.

When I was about four- or five-years-old, I was playing with my brother at my maternal grandparents' house. It was in the summer, and there was a bunch of water flowing in the deep ditches lining the streets, so we decided to play a game where one of us sent a popsicle stick from upstream, under the cement bump spanning the driveway and out the other side, where the other was waiting to capture it and take their turn sending it off.

As I recall, my brother had made his release, and I was laying on my tummy with my head hanging down, waiting to see the popsicle stick come out for me to catch it. My brother called for me to move because my grandpa had to leave for work and was coming down the driveway in his old, Chevy truck. I told him I'd move in a second, so I wouldn't miss the stick, and as I saw the stick pop out from under the driveway, I felt my legs get smashed by the wheels of that big truck; my grandpa hadn't seen me laying on the driveway.

From my perspective, I remember the idea of pain and people frantically running about. My cousin, who was in the passenger seat of the truck with my grandpa, jumped out and rushed to cradle me in his arms and, trying to calm me, said, "it's okay, baby. It's okay, baby." Well, in pain or not, it was important for me in that moment to communicate one thing to him: "I'M NOT A BABY!"

My next memory, is looking down through teary eyes at my red, scratched knees as I sat on my mom's lap riding in my grandma's blue Cadillac on the way to the hospital. Miraculously, I needed minimal treatment there, only a shot, I think, and I was released without anything broken other than a bit of the skin over my knees.

Grandpa was devastated, I heard told by others as they would later recount the details I didn't know or remember as a kid. My grandma and mom essentially forced Grandpa to continue on to work (as an electrician) to hopefully get his mind off the situation. The police that responded to the emergency call, however, were going to consider it a hit and run because he technically left the scene, but it all somehow got worked out in the end.

My brother the tractor driver
Jacob Kautz Mary Ann (Walker) Kautz Their Story


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