The rain just didn’t want to stop falling as Étienne, John, and I made our way from Austin to Dallas yesterday for business meetings and a tasting of Étienne’s family’s wines. My friends and family know that I am a very cautious, prudent driver, even to the point that some will tease me. It was one of those bad Texas rain storms, a “white-knuckle” tempest as some would say, and so I maintained a pretty steady 60 mph as we headed north on I-35. It wasn’t long after my habitual pit-stop at Italy, Texas, about 30 minutes outside of Dallas, that a gold Mercedes spun out of control about 150 yards ahead of us, bouncing off the median divider and sliding lengthwise across the highway directly in our path. I swear, and John, who was in the front passenger seat, told me that he had the same experience: everything seemed to appear in slow motion, despite the celerity with which events unfolded. I didn’t want to break too hard because the road was wet. We were in the middle of three lanes. My instinct told me to swerve right to avoid the oncoming car but I glanced in my right-side mirror and saw there was an 18-wheeler behind me in the far-right lane. It seemed that we were going to collide with the Mercedes head-on.
In that moment, I thought I was going to die.
But then a miracle happened: the Mercedes seemed to bounce off of the front bumper of my Hyundai, like a billiard ball, and it kept moving, colliding with the truck that had passed me on the right. It then flew back across the freeway in front of us and finally stopped moving when it hit the median divider. By this point, I had managed to stop my car.
We were lucky to be alive. The driver of the Mercedes was alive and conscious and the emergency team arrived swiftly and took him away.
The right side of my bumper had been dislodged but a tap put it back into place. There’s barely a scratch on my car. A miracle.
Beyond the adrenaline rush, Étienne, John, and I were 100% fine.
Later, that night, following long meetings and a tasting, Alfonso hosted us all for dinner at his house. We paired his chipotle-chili-marinated, grill-fired pork and baked potatoes with the Étienne’s Domaine de Montille 2006 Volnay 1er cru Les Mitans and a Produttori del Barbaresco 2001 Barbaresco Pora. Étienne told me with a big smile, “you can write on your blog that I love Barbaresco!”
We were lucky to be alive.
We got back to our hotel around 10 p.m. and retired and I was finally able to call Tracie B, who shared the wonderful news that her childhood friend Jennifer had posted our engagement photos on her blog. (Click the photo above to see them all, if you like.)
I don’t know that everything happens for a reason, and even though I believe in God, I’m not sure there is a divine plan. I do know that I love Tracie B with all my heart and all my soul and the joy that she has brought into my life is the greatest miracle anyone could wish for. To imagine my life without her is to imagine a life without meaning, direction, or purpose. I can’t say that “my life passed before my eyes” in the moment of the crash. All I could think about was how I’ve finally arrived at this moment after a life that has certainly been interesting but never entirely fulfilled: I have the love of the sweetest, most beautiful woman I’ve ever known, I have my health and my mind, both of our families are with us and healthy and soon will share the joy of our union. And there was even one of Tracie B’s savory oatmeal cookies left in my wine bag for breakfast this morning…