I was coming out of Milledgeville the Saturday before Christmas, it was raining and 441 north was thick with holiday traffic. I was in a tightly packed group running 55 and it was just before dark. I noticed brake lights and erratic driving ahead. Looking up I spotted what appeared to be a can of tomatoes and a grocery bag as they zipped across the lanes under the cars in front of me.
Worse there were many zipping in all directions, skittering across the pavement darting through traffic, I was just trying to concentrate on the cars around me, slow down and somehow keep Ellie Mae from getting in a wreck. About this time, not one, but two of the cans started flipping, one attaining the height of ten feet above the road, I could see how it was going to go down. The larger of the two was going to miss everything else and hit my windshield. I slowed as much as possible without being the first to arrive at the scene of the accident, a place I find myself in way too often.
I ask you seriously how is it that in all this I could tell that large can was a can of Delmonte cling peaches? I figured the smaller one to be a can of tomato paste from its size. It hit the pavement again, having taken all it could, it burst open and confirmed my suspicions as it sprayed its red contents in an ever increasing circle, while I watched in horror. Just at the last moment the big can of peaches reached the road and I ran over it before it could bounce again, I felt a rush of triumph. It Spared my windshield, but not the seat of my pants, since the pucker factor was pretty high at that moment, I left an imprint on the seat, forever.
The half empty can of paste hit my grill, sounding like a cannon firing as the peaches rambled around under Ellie for what seemed like eternity. I think I relaxed, but only briefly. I’m not sure what kind of weapon a can of peaches would make, but I can tell you this. An eighty dollar tire was no match for them. A can of peaches will shred a tire, I’m here to let you know. I immediately found myself in the middle of a gaggle of cars, fighting for control, wondering how I was going to explain this to the emergency room staff, the patrolman who arrived and the judge later, that I was taken out by a can of peaches. Ellie and I went across the right lane sideways narrowly missing all the other cars and came to a stop in the grass.
Once on the shoulder I got out to access my situation. The paste had taken out my left low beam, I’d just replaced it the week before. The peaches took out my right rear tire. I stood in the grass, in the cold rain and changed it. We’ve had the conversation before about my putting off bodily functions; I danced the whole time I was working. When done I was rewarded with hands and pants covered with sticky, greasy, peachy goo.
I guess someone must have set a bag of canned food on top of their car as they were leaving Wal-Mart. I’d love to have peaches on Christmas, but I’d buy my own, I swear. You know God helps me in my writing; in fact he needs to get the credit for all of it. He might not want to, come to think of it. I need to address this here, while he’s listening. If you’re going to help me, I appreciate it and I’m not complaining, but could you try to give me some stuff that someone will believe. I mean imagine standing at the gates and trying to explain this one. If he weren’t there no one else would ever believe it. I can see the look on St. Peters face as I tried to explain, he’d be dialing the number to a place with a much warmer climate as he listened and rolled his eyes.
“Hey we’ve got one up here at the wrong door, we’ll put him on the elevator, he’ll be there shortly.”
I believe in karma and I believe it works, but can’t for the life of me understand what I did so wrong. I think that somewhere in heaven there is a filing cabinet and somehow my social security number has been misfiled, you know mixed up with someone else’s, maybe Hitlers. Was Gilligan working the day my paperwork got filed?
Only in Milledgeville, Georgia can a grown man get killed by a can of peaches. I’ll be glad when I get settled in Athens. Happy New Year to all.