One summer evening, our family was whizzing down the road with Dad at the wheel of our Rambler, when SUDDENLY…Thump-Thump!
First the front wheels, then the rear wheels rolled over SOMETHING in the road.
I’ll never forget those horrible words that Dad spoke next. With voice shaking he said, “Oh, GOD. I’ve just run over a child.”
There was deafening silence inside the car, and we all looked at each other with alarm and dread. Mom’s mouth was open, not believing what just happened as Dad abruptly pulled the Rambler to the curb, opened the driver’s door and quickly exited the car.
As he made the long walk back, I turned around and looked out the rear window at the small figure wearing little blue jeans and a T-shirt lying motionless in the road.
Just then, the silence was shattered by screeching tires as I watched yet ANOTHER CAR run over the little lifeless form spread out on the asphalt.
THIS CAR’s brakes were “locked-up” on impact, and I watched the little pant legs of the Levi’s twist and flip, and come to rest in what seemed an unnatural angle. We were all horrified, and Mom gasped. It happened so fast, Dad didn’t even get the chance to try and warn the other driver, or wave him off before the impact. We all heard Dad say, “Oh my God…”
No one else said a word as the other car also pulled over to the side of the road, just passed our Rambler.
Our hearts were heavy, as we absorbed the enormity of this situation that would surely mark this moment in time for us all. Our town wasn’t that big; could we possibly know this child? Did he go to my school or possibly our church?
The other driver walked past our car with a look on his face that I can only describe as disbelief as he came face to face with our Dad. They spoke in muffled tones, and the seconds crept by slowly like hours.
We watched Dad and the other driver walk out near the center line for a closer look; Dad knelt down on one knee, and I honestly thought he was going to pray.
Instead, he abruptly stood upright and said something to the other driver that we couldn’t hear.
I was suddenly shocked to see my Dad KICK this little figure several times until it rested near the curb in the gutter, as the other driver quickly walked back to his car, got in and drove away.
When Dad got back to our car, he was clearly angry.
“What happened?” asked my Mother.
Dad was silent for a second or two, as he dropped the shifter back into drive and pointed our car back onto the roadway.
“That was a dirty trick,” he said.
Someone had apparently taken a small carpet roll and dressed it in children’s clothes.
I am sure whoever did the deed was close by, watching events unfold with glee. My Dad didn’t think it was very funny. He just shook his head, thankful, I’m sure, that it was just an old roll of carpet, and not really a child. He would have NEVER gotten over it.
I related this story to my wife, and she retold it to one of her co-workers. He in turn shared that when he was a kid, he and his friends used to dress up a home-made dummy in a Cub Scout uniform and mount it on an old bicycle. When the time was right, they would roll it down a hill into cross-traffic, just for laughs.
I hate to say it, but when I was 10, I would have thought this was great fun.
Did anyone ever play a practical joke like this on you?
— From Guest Blogger Wild Billy Elliott (my brother)