“It could have been a lot worse,” we told ourselves. “At least nobody got hurt.” Well, except for the car, of course, but even that wasn’t nearly as bad as it might have been.

I thought I should say that right up front, because if I started out with, “We got hit by a semi on our way to Chicago last week,” you might have gotten unduly alarmed.

We had just crossed over into Indiana when an 18-wheeler next to us in the far left lane started moving into our lane. The driver saw us in time to swerve back into his own lane, but he still clipped and dented our car.

My husband pulled over onto the left shoulder. We expected the truck driver to do the same, but he barreled on past us.

After getting out and quickly checking the damage, my husband got back in the car and we took off again, hoping to catch up with the truck. By now I had my phone out, hoping to get a photo of the truck and its license plate – and maybe even to flag down the driver and get him to stop, in the highly unlikely event that he didn’t realize he actually hit us.

No such luck, though. We passed a number of trucks, but not the one that hit us.

I wrote down our location, the exact time of the incident, and as many details as we could remember. Unfortunately, there was no writing on the truck that would have at least identified its store or company.

After calling the police and our insurance company, there wasn’t anything else for us to do about it. That’s when we started acknowledging how many ways it could have been worse. There was a lot more for us to be grateful for than just, “At least nobody got hurt,” and “Thank God he saw us and got back in his own lane before hitting us full-on.”

We were thankful that the damage to our car was relatively minor. That our car was still drivable. That we had only a few more hours of driving to do for the day, and the worst of the traffic was behind us. By the time we were done thinking up all the reasons we should be grateful, we were saying how lucky we were to get hit by the truck, since it gave us so many things to be thankful for.

We weren’t serious, of course. But still, the experience reminded me that we do have a lot in our lives to be thankful for, including much that we take for granted most of the time. Like decent roads and cars that get us safely to and from wherever we want to go – most of the time.

By the way, the reason we were traveling to Chicago in the first place was to celebrate my father-in-law’s 90th birthday. It was a wonderful party. We laughed and reminisced, sharing stories and memories. And we were reminded that this – spending time with people we love and who love us – is one of the things we are most grateful for.

September 28, 2018
©Betty Liedtke, 2018

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