It was Day 1 of The Great American Book Coaching Tour. We began in Tennessee, went through Kentuky, Illinois, and finally Missouri. As we got closer to MO, I suddenly had an urge for ice-cream. Those of you who know me know that is not very uncommon. However, little did I know that in just a couple of hours, that insignificant little stop at Dairy Queen would keep my husband and I from being involved in an incident later on.
We began getting closer to St. Louis and threw out the idea of visiting the Arch. Of course, I pulled out my trusty CrackBerry and looked into all we could do there. We were running two hours ahead of schedule, so we debated about a river boat cruise, dinner on the river walk, etc. Then I found it. You can actually ride up inside the arch and stay on top looking out windows on both sides at views of the Mississippi river and St. Louis. The decision was made. We were going up into the arch.
We pulled off the highway onto the road my trusty GPS (nicknamed “Gypsy”) told us to and were immediately hit with a long line of cars – going nowhere. As we slowed to a stop, we figured it was just merging traffic ahead and gazed out at the Arch, which we could clearly see by this time.
Fifteen minutes and the engine is still running, cooling my hair with a soft breeze from the air conditioning vents. Twenty minutes. The engine gets shut off and the doors get opened. People begin walking around. The wail of a siren sounds behind us and we see a cop car pull up as far as it can go (there’s no shoulder on the MLK Bridge). A nice guy with a dreadlocked mohawk (seriously, I’ve never seen anything like it before) gets out of the oversized SUV in front of us and walks back to the police man. I watch. I get out and stretch. I lean back against my car, enjoying the sunshine and soft breeze. Dread-hawk man walks back and kindly informs every car between Mr. Policeman and us that there is a minor fender-bender ahead and traffic should have been moving by now. We realize traffic is going nowhere and I take this opportunity to do what any entrepreneur would do – I grab my laptop and start working on the files I was planning on doing that night anyway.
An hour and still nothing. I’m making good headway on my files, but it looks like we’re going to have to skip it since we have such an early morning tomorrow.
An engine turns over. Suddenly cars shuffle forward, gaining speed quickly. We get moving right away. I frantically try to shut down my laptop so I can get a picture of the “Welcome to Missouri” sign we’re sure is on the bridge in front of us. Prepped and ready, we get to the bridge. No sign. Oh well.
Over the river and into Missouri, we saw it. I counted at least four cars being towed from the “minor” fender-bender as we sped by. There could have been more. Several were in extremely bad shape – way more than just bent fenders. And if we’d been there only five minutes earlier, one of them would have been us.
I thanked God right then and there for my ice-cream cravings, as this one clearly kept us from a very nasty day. I will never take ice-cream for granted again. And most importantly, I’ll never ignore the cravings!