I had a long list of complaints I wanted to share with you this morning, all jotted down on a pad. But all of a sudden, things just sort of changed course.
This sharp tack came on Halloween, a day for which there is some conjecture that the veil between the living and the dead is a little thinner than usual. Anyway, I got on my bike after lunch and went to see my dentist. Her office is in that big brick building across the street from St. Augustine Beach City Hall. I wheeled up and was leaning my bike against the brick wall when I heard a tremendous crash. Two cars collided at that intersection of A1A South and 16th Street with such force that I feared someone was surely dead.
I ran out to the intersection and there was an older woman in one late model sedan. Her airbag went off and she was a little shaken up but she was fine. Her car was another story. The impact tore the passenger side wheel clean off and a big spring from underbelly of the car was rolling around in the intersection.
The other car had a mother and daughter in it. They both had their seat belts on and their air bags deployed, as well. Along with some of the folks from my dentist’s office we were able to get everyone out of their vehicles. The older woman was a tad shaken, but had the wherewithal to grab her keys, cell phone and mail out the car. We had a little trouble getting the young girl out of the other car because the vehicle was so banged up. But everyone was okay and it seemed like the police were there in less than a minute.
One of the officers asked me if I saw anything and I said no. I was parking my bike. By the time I turned around the accident was over. It happened that fast. So I went back to my dentist’s office, confirmed a future appointment and got back on my bike.
While I was riding south on A1A back to Treasure Beach I couldn’t stop thinking about the accident and how lives changed in that violent instant. I was still rattled. I decided to stop in to see my friend, Katie, because I thought she might be bored and want to hear the story. I wheeled up to her house, knocked on the door and to my surprise she was not home. I turned around and and as I was walking back to my bike I saw a man across the street just keel over in his yard. I ran over there and found this fellow struggling, unable to get up. He was an older guy and he was out in the yard picking up those sharp fronds that fall from the palm trees. He was all cut up from falling on them and bleeding. I told him who I was and that I would help him. I grabbed both his hands and pulled him up to his feet. He thanked me and looked me in the eyes with the saddest expression and said to me, “I have Parkinson’s.”
We got him settled and I went over and watered some of Katie’s plants and went home and heard about some crazy guy driving over people in Manhattan. Unbelievable. It really seemed like a good time to be around people opposed to sitting at home waiting for the Trick or Treaters not to show up. So Irene and I went down to that new Irish pub in Crescent Beach. Our friend Lisa was singing and she was backed up by some mean guitar by Boston Bob. They had a stand up bass player I didn’t know, but maybe that was because he had a wig on. There was a guy sitting at the bar in a gorilla suit, casually drinking a cocktail from a straw. There were two or three witches in the crowd.
The band was hot and at the end of the night we all danced to the Grateful Dead song “Ripple.” On the way out, I forgot my glasses and went back into the bar to get them. I saw an old friend who asked me how I was. Pretty good, I told him. I wasn’t about to go into all the craziness I had seen that day. “Me too,” was his reply when I asked about him. “I guess we can’t complain.”
Truer words were never said.
Bob Tis is a former Record reporter.
Bob Tis is a former Record reporter.