Monday, July 25, 2011

Tot at the Wheel

I was recently telling someone this story and though I should write it down for posterity.

When I was about 2 years old and we were living in the Southern Highlands of Papua New Guinea, my dad had flown somewhere and while we waited for his plane to return, my mom and sister and I were visiting our friends at the Catholic station on the top of a mountain. Mom was talking with Father Hans while my older sister and I were playing around, running in and out of the house.
Now, you have to understand that out in the bush where we were, there were not many vehicles and even fewer people who could drive one, so everyone who had a car occasionally left their keys in the ignition.
So I am told that I heard and then ran out to confirm by sighting my dad’s plane coming in for landing at the air strip. I ran in to tell my mom and she must have, in good mommy fashion, said something like, “okay, just a minute,” and resumed finishing her conversation. being impatient, I ran out the our Suzuki jeep that had it’s doors off and jumped right up on the driver’s seat. Did I call my sister to come join me, or did she just run with me, I don’t know. But at any rate, she jumped in the passenger side and was holding on to the roof with her feet on the seat and her rear end hanging out a bit. Which was probably a good thing because I turned the key in the ignition and the jeep began rolling backwards down the mountain.
At that point my mom and Father Hans must have come running form the house and one of them managed to pull my sister out of the side while the other tried to pry me out. Did I put up a fight, not wanting to get out of my sweet ride? Maybe. Somehow, I must have fallen for a brief moment so that my legs were under the jeep and the wheels were rolling toward me. Someone pulled me to safety and stopped the car only inches from a large rainforest tree.
Maybe this was just another day on the mission field for my parents.
They say that your earliest memories are usually traumatic events that your brain stores with whatever language you have available at the time. So when I was five years old and woke up from a dream about an airplane rolling over my legs, my mom put it together and told me this story.
Crazy. But that is my life and there are plenty more where that one came from.

1 comment:

  1. No, it wasn't "just another day on the mission field for us." Your mother still has a finger with a hurt in it that comes from holding on to the side of the door with all her might, barely able to slow the little jeep down. I guess we should say, it was "only" a Suzuki LJ10, not a tanklike thing. But still. I think Hans ran out behind her, and he turned the key to stop the jeep from going farther.
    So there is a physical reminder yet today. We spoke about it just a couple days ago. And when we remember, we remember with thanks that you were not hurt.