Welcome to beautiful Washington. Welcome to the land where it actually snows! This is beauty that takes my breath away. I absolutely love it here.
However, beauty has a dangerous side to it. Two days ago, I was reminded of that.
Rob has been working as a substitute teacher, and two days ago he was happy to be called into the same school as our kids. The school is at 1000 feet elevation, and we live down the hill, about a 15 minutes drive from the school. Our youngest had the flu, and stayed home with me. The other two were thrilled to ride in with their Dad. They decided to take the 1996 Jeep Cherokee, because it is a 4-wheel drive. The kids named the Jeep, Old Rusty, because to them it is an ancient relic. Rob bought that Jeep the year we got married. To us, it feels like yesterday when it had the smell of brand new and it was all decked out - the most Rob had ever paid for a car. Nowadays, the automatic windows don't even roll down. Last year, the front door fell and hung off a bit on the driver's side, but Rob got that fixed. Still, he loved his Jeep like a fifth child.
We can't exactly complain that we have a Polar Vortex here. in fact, my kids were starting to doubt it really snows here. Alas, that is when the weather pattern changed, and the big freeze set in. Sure enough, we got some snow! Along with the snow, we got an unfriendly amount of black ice. Well, Rob was one of the unfortunate souls who hit it on his way to the kids' school that morning. Our 13 year old, Keira was in the front seat, and our 11 year old, Lucas, was in the back seat. Bethany's flu turned out to be blessing in disguise for her little 8-year old body.
Now, Old Rusty has driven over fallen tree trunks, taken us on many logging road adventures, and recently towed a trailer carrying trenches and tractors. But the black ice was too much for our favorite Jeep Cherokee, with the Sons of Thunder sticker. Rob and my kids went off the road over a 15 foot drop-off, rolled, bounced, and totaled the old Jeep. The back end of it was smashed, and by the look of it Lucas was lucky he didn't get his head smashed in. They managed to come out of it alive, with only a few bumps, cuts, and bruises. THANK GOD!!!!
They landed in the yard of a local Lutheran church. Turned out the pastor of the church knew Pastor Kal of St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Tracy, CA, and credited Pastor Kal as the reason he got into ministry. Tracy is our old stomping grounds, where Rob planted a Calvary Chapel, and Rob knew Pastor Kal from prayer meetings and local events. It's a small world.
Life is truly a roller coaster ride adventure, isn't it? These moments make us all the more thankful for the loved ones in our lives. I always cherish the moments I have with my family, but my heart feels a bit squeezed as I think of the close call we had.
Old Rusty's remains are sitting on our property, covered up and TBD what shall become of them. As for crashing into churches, Rob apologized to the pastor. We are all so very grateful Old Rusty landed outside in their empty field, rather than inside their church building.