My Painful Epiphany

105182105411181CDPby Neva Bodin


Bam! Rip! Pop! Ominous sounds. I heard them one morning. They preceded feelings of shock, fear, and dismay. They produced thoughts of, “I better leave now.”

Have you ever had an epiphany? Merriam Webster online describes an epiphany as, “an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure.” I think we all have one now and then. Some can pop a profound “aha” into our consciousness. Some are not so profound. I’ll share one of mine; you be the judge of it’s profoundness.

Fall scents of dying leaves and hayfields tinged the early morning air as I left the house in my nursing uniform and cap. I worked at a nursing home and though in the 70’s, a time when nurses’ caps were becoming obsolete, our head nurse said it helped the elderly residents know who the nurse was, as opposed to aides and other workers. I loved my job, my husband, my two kids and our farm, the latter surrounded by woods and hills, and home to our cows, horses, chickens and dogs.

My husband and I had professions other than farming, necessary to support our small beef growing business. My “other” job started before his. Which is why he got to hear the same sounds I did; unfortunately, he was still home.

A little background is necessary. We had an old tractor. We had a hayfield full of bales. The night before we filled a wagon, pulled by the old tractor, with bales and drove into the yard for a late supper with unloading bales planned for dessert. Did I say the tractor was “old?”

After supper, the tractor, apparently deciding enough was enough, wouldn’t start. Finally, worn out ourselves, we gave in and left it parked—behind the car.

The car needed a little extra gas to start moving. So, like always, I started the car, gave the gas pedal a shove with my foot, and backed up like always to make it easier to turn around and leave the farmyard.

Bam! That was the loader arm which the tractor had pointing forward like a bug’s feeler, putting a big hole, right in the center of my trunk.

Rip! That was the loader arm leaving the trunk as I hastily gunned the car forward to get away from that monster.

Pop! That was the loader arm letting go of the trunk as the car jerked forward and stopped again when I braked, now free of entanglements.

Shock. That was the feeling that I could do such a thing.

Fear. That was the feeling I got when I looked at the house in time to see my husband looking out the door at me, then slamming the door with much gusto.

Dismay. That only barely encompassed the myriad of feelings rushing through my mind and limbs.

I drove to work. I gave medications and dealt with a multitude of tasks that day, all the while ruminating about what would happen when I returned home. (See, I can multitask.) Was my marriage intact while my car wasn’t? Could it be fixed while my car couldn’t?

Anticlimactically, my husband was calm and accepting when I got home. He placed duct tape on the hole. (It took a lot of duct tape.) The next day my little daughter, age 3, decorated her little riding car with duct tape on the back too.

So I had an epiphany–Sometimes it’s okay to leave the scene of the crime! Husbands do need time to calm down so don’t bother them with your stuff right away.

I also confirmed versions of some old proverbs I’d heard—get out while the gettin’s good, and time does help heal old wounds, (except on a car.) And sometimes you are teaching your kids lessons about life even when you don’t plan to: “you can usually fix it with duct tape, and an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” I should have had duct tape on the trunk already! After all, my daughter never got a hole in her trunk when she backed into things after that!


17 thoughts on “My Painful Epiphany

  1. No hole, not even in a dent. But a story I can tell. Back in the early ’80s, a bunch of newsroom people from the Central Florida newspaper where I worked would gather at the house out in the woods and watch movies and if we drank too much, strip poker (whoops, I hadn’t met to say that). One night after midnight (I should add that there were no streetlights back along the gravel drive to the house), I needed to head to the local all-night convenience store for more refreshments. I couldn’t see a thing as I backed up. Boom! Crash. Oh, crap! Yep, someone had parked behind me. It was the new 1982 Mustang, the pride and joy of Jim, the assistant city editor. Luckily, a flashlight showed just scuff damage on the front bumper of Jim’s car. I didn’t care what mine looked like. Maybe someday I’ll tell another story… the time I left a friend’s scuba tank loaned out in the sun for far, far too long.


  2. Oh Neva,
    So glad no one was hurt, but the car of course. Life does have those moments and taking time to see the whole picture sometimes saves heartache and problems later. While it was a delayed AHA, I think it qualifies. I think some AHA’s are better for the time lapse. Doris


  3. Backing into a tractor’s loading arm sounds like something I would do if attempting to drive with limited vision. I find it refreshing when somebody with good eyes does something like that. Thank goodness for duct tape.


    1. I’m glad I was able to give you a laugh. We laugh about it now too, but it’s a long while later…. I have way too many “character building” incidents in my life, although some are obviously of my own making! Thanks for reading.


  4. Love your story, Neva! I thought it started out like a crime drama and I was thinking ‘gunshots’! I backed into a parked trailer the other day and put a dent into my car’s hatchback from the hitch — I forgot trailers had hitches and someone other than Greg, I, or the next door neighbor had taken this parking spot in front of the house, so it was a vehicle I had not expected to be there (with a protrusion that ruffled my car’s rear-end!!) Thanks for the laugh today!


  5. Discretion is the better part of valor? Sometimes guys do need time to cool down when it comes to things like cars. Glad there wasn’t any serious damage. The wonders of duct tape! Fun.


  6. Oh, Neva, we’ve all done things like that–well, not exactly, but similar. I’ve backed into things when I thought the way was clear. And done really stupid things that I’m grateful to have survived without more damage. In those cases, I suppose my ignorance helped protect me. 🙂 Entertaining post!


  7. What an enjoyable post Neva! I’ve had similar things happen but I love your way of handling it. You’re right. Sometimes things just need to settle down a bit. I’m very fortunate in that my husband doesn’t get his feathers ruffled but stays calm and always says, “It could have happened to anyone.” Your writing of this incident is so funny that I can’t stop smiling. Thank you for the post!


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