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Joy in the Journey

November 26, 2013

by Linda Beerman
It was a cold, December evening in 1977. Harvest was late for us that year from weather complications, and we were finishing up hauling corn in from the fields. This was the end, finally. I was waiting to help Dan bring trucks home, but had been sleeping on the couch waiting for him to come with the combine. I don't remember the exact time, but it was early morning by the time he arrived and needed my assistance.

I have never minded helping wherever I can, but I was eight months pregnant with our youngest son, Peter. I guess I was just tired from a long day, and the weather was frigid. Light snow was starting and going out into it would not have been my first choice. But at that point it had to be done. We got into our cold car to drive about a mile and a half to the corn laden truck. O.K., now I should be awake! I'm sure we chatted a little; we never have had any problem talking to one another. Probably about the fact that harvest was finished for the season and we were grateful.

When we reached our destination, Dan got into the truck to return home, and he told me just to go ahead and he would follow. I waited to see that he was on his way behind me, and I went on my way. This was not a long journey, so what happened next was not only crazy but strange! The next thing I remember is bouncing hard onto the field, waking up to see our grove and home in the distance ahead of me. I was on unplowed ground and just kept driving toward the driveway. Up the shallow ditch by the garden spot and on toward the house. I parked by our home and just sat there in a daze.

In just a few minutes Dan arrived with the loaded corn. He jumped out of the truck and came to me quickly, as I was still sitting in the car. He was understandably shaken up and wondered if I was O.K. Coming behind me on the road, he had watched as I sailed into the farm field "like the Dukes of Hazard". He was in awe that I had just kept driving and actually had beaten him home. We were both concerned about our baby that would soon be born, hoping I had not harmed him in any way. It all turned out fine, praise God.

For me, becoming snoozy or weary when driving cannot be predicted. Some times I can drive for several hours and not be hampered in any way. Other times I have told Dan I will drive, just to ask him to take the wheel within a half hour! Crazy, but that is the way it is. I am thankful that I have never had a serious accident from falling asleep, or even worse, caused one. How awful that would be!

In former years I would try to stay awake when the problem of tiredness hit, chewing gum, keeping the windows open, munching snacks, or turning up the radio. My children and foster children will also tell you that as soon as they could drive, I would let them. I always appreciated when they could take the wheel in my place, or when they could go all by themselves. With us living ten to twenty miles from the nearest towns, they got a lot of practice driving!

Driving while groggy or fatigued is a serious matter. I know that firsthand. In the information that I read, it is compared to impaired driving attributed to alcohol. I no longer drive when I am tired. If I begin to feel drowsy, I ask someone else to drive. If I am alone, I pull over and rest for a short time until I feel prepared to move forward. It is miserable trying to stay awake when you are tired for any reason. But so very important while driving to be alert and ready to meet any obstacles. Hurting myself would be one thing, but causing harm to others would be something I'm not sure I could get over.

Good blessings to all of you on the roads as the farm machinery is out and about. And as our season of winter is fast approaching. May we all stay vigilant and attentive to our surroundings and to the path in front of us.

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