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Plans derailed by car accident | Home Again


April 10, 2019

My plan for last Saturday included a leisurely morning at home, followed by a sunny drive to watch my West Seattle grandson Adam play soccer in Tukwila.

Tukwila is not my first choice of game location, but I’d drive further than that to watch my grandchildren play anything. Indeed, if my granddaughter Annika let me know when she was going to be in a horse show, I’d be flying or driving to go watch her compete in northern Idaho.

As it is, it’s more likely that I see photos after the fact, and that in every photo she and her horse both appear to have gained in composure and skill.

I know that many of my readers have kids or grandkids competing in sports. You know what it’s like to sit in cold arenas or to stand on soggy sidelines in a chilling rain or to climb up unmercifully steep bleachers in a gym at a school you’ve never heard of.

You’ve traipsed around giant playfields trying to recall which uniform your own beloved one is wearing that particular day, in order that you might somehow locate him – and field No. 10 – before the game is over.

That’s after you have finally found a parking place far from field NBo.10 and actually paid $5 for the privilege of parking. And then there’s the possibility of a toll charge arriving the next week from the state for your use of some for-pay roadway you weren’t aware you used.

It’s all quite complex, some days. But it’s always worth it, and I try not to miss a game. That’s actually my point, isn’t it? It’s always worth it to get to those games.

So about last Saturday?

My grandson Adam’s soccer game was set for 2:15 in Tukwila, which meant he was to be there at 1:45. I would meet the family at the game. I left home at 1. I stopped to hurriedly pump $10 worth of gas – $10 worth of gas does not take long to pump – and I was on my way.

Southbound I-5 was busy but tolerable. I was pleased to see the green sign indicating southbound express lanes were open.

As I followed the express lane traffic into the downtown tunnel traffic slowed, and I could see many red brake lights in front of me. I hoped traffic would thin soon, so I wouldn’t be late for Adam’s team practice. And that was the moment when the heavy Ram pickup crashed into the back of my much lighter Toyota.

I slammed on the brake. At first, I couldn’t imagine what had happened. So much noise!

And my neck hurt.

Then, dazed, I simply sat there, trying to be calm, wishing I weren’t alone, wishing I’d quit shaking and start thinking clearly. Of course, eventually, the situation was sorted out, documents shared, photos taken, driver of the speeding Ram ticketed and both vehicles, and drivers, cleared to continue.

Aid car, fire engine, State Patrol car and road worker trucks followed us out of the tunnel.

I called my daughter midway through the experience and said I’d be late for the game – and why. No, I didn’t need her to come. I’d just be a little late for Adam’s game. She convinced me that was a bad idea and returned from the game to find me resting on her couch in West Seattle with one of her cats asleep on top of me.

Adam scored a goal, but his team lost. My daughter offered me dinner. My son-in-law taped my Toyota’s ruined trunk shut.

I swallowed some Tylenol and drove home to Edmonds – carefully, anxiously, thankfully.


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