mo’s ma: I think the guy who stayed with J.T. after his crash was an angel.
mo: Nah, he’s just a Texan.
Morris was driving down a small two-line highway in South Texas. An 18-wheeler was in front of him; a motorcycle behind.
He passed the truck and saw that the motorcycle did the same. He assumed the bike would come around him a second later. It didn’t.
He looked in his rear-view mirror and saw the motorcyclist sliding along the road. Luckily, the truck was able to slam its brakes and avoid running over him. The guy was sprawled motionless in the middle of the highway. He had blown a rear tire, and apparently you need both tires to stay upright. Beats me. Never rode a motorcycle.
Morris came back and shooed away a couple of people who had stopped but didn’t know what to do. Luckily, a retired firefighter was next on the scene. He and Morris were able to hold him down till they were fairly certain he was OK to move off the middle of the highway. Morris stayed till the ambulance arrived.
Then he drove an hour or so out of his way to the emergency room with the stranger, who was in the middle of nowhere with no family nearby. He waited for several hours at the guy’s bedside while his aunt and her hubby raced from their home a couple of hours away.
While there, he had the same conversation a hundred times with the guy, who had a concussion and no short-term memory of anything except maybe the Alamo. Other than that, a broken collarbone, some road rash and the right to be called Luckiest Biker on the Planet.
Morris called the stranger’s mom to let her know her son had been in a crash but was OK. He calmed down the aunt who was worried silly during the drive.
He was there when they finally arrived, waving them down the hall and walking with them to the bed in the emergency room. Then he just stood there, embarrassed for the gratitude. He gave the essential details of the evening, which the stranger couldn’t remember at all. He stayed as long as he was needed. And then it was time to go.
A reluctant pose for a photo of the two of them together, and a mention that his son keeps bugging him for a motorcycle despite his steadfast refusal. Then a goodbye and the end of a long day that had stretched well past midnight.
The stranger was J.T, our nephew who had been on his way for a visit. I would have been so mad if he had died after I swept the living room floor. Kids these days. No gratitude.
There are so many bad things in the world. And then, when you least except it, an angel with a Texas drawl and a well-worn baseball cap wanders into your life to remind you it’s not such a bad place after all.
Thank you, Morris. That’s all. Thank you.
Oh. And thank you.