That Message

I’m just going to start this with saying that 2020 has been a shit show and Duke has had it worse than most of the rest of us.  I’m just typing this one, so I can one day look back and remember my emotions.  I cannot and will not type my true feelings as our internet service sucks ass and may not last that long.  Here we go.

No parent want’s that call.  Or in today’s technological world, that message.  Yeah, that message.  THE message that you find out that your offspring is involved in a bad wreck.

Saturday night, I truly thought that Duke was in bed.  Sunday, at 6:42 am, Tammy got a text.   I was on the couch watching some Animal Planet.  “We’ve got to go.  Duke’s been in an accident.”

“What?  Says who?”

“I got a text from him.”

“Wait.  What did the text say?”


She showed it to me.  “Been in an accident.  I’m by Clay & Christie’s house.  Bring a hammer and a blanket.”


WTH?  That doesn’t sound like a drunked up teenager.?!!?

So, we drove, in the fog, to the spot.  Only 3.5 miles from our house.  I drove past it without seeing his pickup.  Then, as I passed it, I saw it…. my heart sunk and I backed up.  I made Tammy stay at the pickup.  This did not look good.  I headed down the dry creek embankment to the Gray Goat that was sitting upside down.  I lied down in the sandburs and johnsongrass and shined a flashlight into the smashed cab.  I couldn’t see him.  I was feeling the worst of it.  “Stay back!”  Mentally, I was preparing myself, her, us, both of us,  for the worst.

Long story, made short.  He was responsive.  It took me 5 or 6 whacks with a hammer to break the side glass.  I spread a blanket over the glass shards and he crawled out.  Blood everywhere.  I shined the light in his face, smelled his breath and looked at his wounds.   Let’s be real…a 19 year old Kelln male, one should suspect alcohol.  Nothing.  He could walk.  No signs of concussion.

And you people know that I like Paul Harvey….so here is the rest of the story.  He sent that text at 11:30 Saturday night.  He had no cell service.  We thought that he was in his room.  The text came through 7 hours later.  He had tried to kick the windows out…no luck.  He had been trapped in the wreckage all night.

He met a driver on the road that was in the middle.  He slowed down.  The other driver went left of center.  He had to swerve.  He did not have a head on collision.  He did not hit the bridge rails.  According to the HiPo, he took the only path that saved lives.  The police cleared him of any wrong doing.  He is partially scalped, has a broken right hand (Duke is left handed), numerous other scrapes & cuts and is sore as hell.

After taking him to the hospital, we came back to the scene to meet the deputy sheriff.  I walked up and he was shaking his head.  He said, “Third bad roll over that we have worked this week.  All GM cars.  All parties walked away with minimal injuries.”  The HiPo showed up.  Said the same thing.  Our friend Lance Shultz, pulled up with the wrecker truck.  Reiterated that same fact.  This isn’t an ad, but dang!

Once, the cops cleared the scene, they allowed me to crawl in the pickup to find valuables.  Namely, a hand-made knife that Tom Kester had given Duke for graduation.  As I crawled inside the wreckage, I could see where he sat, with pools of blood around him.  I could see the scuff marks on the windows, where he tried to kick the windows out.  I used his favorite flannel shirt as a blanket.  There was lots of broken shit but the most dangerous objects were all the fishing hooks and fishing lures that were in the now busted tackle box.  I salvaged a Waylon Jennings CD, a Charlie Daniels CD and a Jerry Clower CD.  (I love this kid.)  Five different knives ( all folded or sheathed).  And I solved the nationwide coin shortage.  ANY damn coin that you ever needed was dumped all over the inside of this cab!

At the hospital, it became apparent that things were going to be okay.  I stepped out to talk to the sheriff’s office, the HiPo and our friend that handles our insurance.  I came back in to Duke’s room and he was gone for XRays on his hand, ribs and hip.  Tammy had finally broke down.  She stayed strong until it was time to let loose.  I then went about dealing with grandparents on the phone.  They all needed to come hug Duke but no, he needed space.  Now I set upon the task of notifying uncles that shit was going to be OKAY.  And then anybody that might want to buy a 2009 GMC 4 door, 4WD that used to run like a bat out of hell.

I asked Duke if he was knocked out.  “Maybe for a minute.  The headlights were on.  It took me awhile to find my phone.  I knew that I was bleeding bad.  I never had cell service.  I tried to get out.”

I asked, “Did you sleep?”

“Very little.  I just kept praying.”  Thank you GOD!

Let’s get right to it!  The Gray Goat has hauled as many champion caliber animals as any.  Grands and reserves at OYE, Tulsa, State Fairs, KC, Phoenix and Denver.  Anybody that ever rode in it or drove it, immediately knew that it ran like a spotted ass zebra.  Jim Rhodes, Bill Taylor, Mikey Thompson….they know.  And in the end, when it was totaled, our boy was able to walk away.


Last weekend, Kela dodged California wildfires.  This weekend, this.  Tammy are I are going to be 70 before we hit 50.  GOD bless to all of you and remember to pray.   It works!!

Leave a Reply