Nothing makes you feel more thankful than a near death experience 24 hours before Thanksgiving.
I’ve just returned home from Syracuse University, and the last four hours spent on the road have truly altered my perspective on some things. While riding shotgun alongside my friend Jason, my trip home for the holiday (my favorite one) started out like any other voyage from Central New York to Long Island. This abruptly changed around 8:30 am on 81 South.
While watching Jason manuever through some heavy fog, I was alarmed by an oncoming white or gray (it came on too fast to tell) sedan heading right at us. The car and it’s confused (and hopefully sober) driver were headed the wrong way, and for a second it seemed like a collision (to say the least) was imminent. Fortunately, I was able to startle Jason enough for him to swerve out of the way, keeping everything but our minds intact.
After narrowly escaping this brief, but traumatic moment, I had plenty of time to think about what transpired. I couldn’t help but reflect about the nature of our trip home, and how I now have something poignant to contribute the Bank family’s annual “let’s go around the table and say what we’re thankful for” dinner routine.
But why wait until then?
I’m thankful for my alertness in the front seat (my other friend Matt was passed out in the back, and I’m not sure if Jason actually saw the car when I did). I’m strangely thankful that sleepy Matt actually crashed his Pathfinder into a deer on 81 South several weeks prior, because I cautioned Jason to slow down and watch for these roaming beasts just minutes before today’s scare.
I’m thankful that I liked the song playing on my friend’s iPod enough to have not been looking down and changing it at this time. I’m also thankful for irony (a band named The Killers may have saved our lives).
I’m thankful that the other driver didn’t have the same last-minute reaction that we did. He just as easily could have moved left as we veered right, which would have been equally as devastating.
I’m thankful for my friend listening to me, and handling himself like Ricky Bobby at a time when he could have frozen up. And lastly, I’m really thankful for having this website. What happened today really shook me up, and it feels right to get all of my thoughts out of my head.
With my thankfulness comes regret. My friends and I stupidly didn’t call the police (I think we were too overwhelmed with fear and our own sense of luck). I hope this isn’t a decision I will regret for the rest of my life. I’m not the praying kind, but I found myself begging a higher-up that nothing tragic ensued afterwards on that highway.
So this Thanksgiving, please be thankful for family, friends, food, football,or whatever F word it is that makes today, tomorrow, and every single day special.
Most importantly, be thankful for being able to be thankful. After today, I know I am.