Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Glass exploded inside my car as the vehicle shot sideways across two lanes of traffic. Slamming on the brakes, I tried to control the small car, but brakes only work on forward movement. A loud roar rang in my ears and it took a moment to realize the sound came from a jet liner taking off to my immediate right. I remembered seeing it backed up right to the fence that separated the runway from the highway heading west out of Salt Lake City.

Trembling and shaking, I proceeded toward the exit that would take me to the airport. Somehow my brain put together the obvious as I drove, peering through a cracked and shattered windshield with tiny beads of glass from all of the other shattered windows scattered about me. When the jetliner revved its engines for takeoff, I was in the direct path of the huge blast of air released. That blast broke my rear window and every window on the right side of my car, turned my windshield into a crazy map of lines that were rapidly spreading as I drove. It also blew my car from the outside lane to teetering on the grassy verge of the inside line.

As I considered the odds of abruptly leaving my lane to scoot across two other lanes in rush hour traffic without hitting another vehicle, I not only shook more, but grew angry. I stormed into the airport terminal and sought out the airline desk for the company with a big red W painted on their planes. I stood nervously tapping my fingernails on the countertop until I got someone’s attention. The young man called his supervisor and the supervisor called security.

The head of security was polite, but wary as I explained what had happened. He accompanied me outside to examine my car. In minutes he had a crew out vacuuming out the glass and covering the windows with cardboard. He called my insurance agent and a company that installs glass. He wanted me to go to the hospital to be checked for cuts, but I assured him that the only injury I received was a broken fingernail which happened when I stood at the counter drumming my fingers.

“I need to call my husband,” I said. “He’ll be worried because I’m so late.”

“Uh, what are you going to tell him?” the security chief asked.

“That I got hit by an airplane.” I grinned. I was well past being shaky by then.

The security chief watched me carefully for a few moments, then a wide grin spread across his face before he spoke, “I’d love to see that pilot’s face when he lands in Seattle and learns he’s wanted for hit and run in Utah.”

Though the experience was certainly frightening, it has since become a fun story to relate. Not everyone can claim the experience of being hit by an airplane and living to tell about it. (Yes, I know, technically it wasn’t the airplane that hit me.)

There are a lot of ways to be scared and I’ve never gone out of my way to experience any of them—except maybe stage fright. I used to like to act, though there were nearly always a few moments when I wondered if I’d lost my sanity by putting myself in a spot to be stared at by people and having to remember lines. When other teenagers went to the Friday night horror shows at the local theater I went bowling. I’ve always gone to great lengths to avoid anything scary, but scary things happen to me anyway. I nearly stepped on a rattler once, I was called as a Federal Grand Jury witness one time, being in a hurry and not watching what was happening around me I stepped between a man with a gun and the politician he was threatening, I caught my foot between the cliff face and a large rock when I was stupidly climbing alone, I’ve lost my wallet, I’ve missed my bus, I’ve had cancer as have two of my daughters, and on and on.

I think I’ve been scared too many times in real life to enjoy being scared vicariously through reading scary books. I like horror even less than sci-fi (Sometimes it’s hard to distinguish which genre some titles belong in.)

Today’s world is often referred to as scary, but it doesn’t have to be. If we’ve taken our prophets’ advice and prepared physically, financially, educationally, and spiritually we’ll be all right. That doesn’t mean we won’t face some hard times; some challenges may appear insurmountable, but faith in God will get us through.


Michele Ashman Bell said...

Good grief, Jennie. That is some crazy story. Not many can top that. I love where you went with the blog though. There's plenty in the world to be frightened of, yet we are promised, if we are doing what we're supposed to be (and we all know what those things are) we have no need to fear. Thank you for the gentle reminder.

Nancy Campbell Allen said...

Wow, Jennie! Next time we're together, I'm going to throw some salt over my shoulder. Or knock on wood, or something. You live an exciting life, especially for one who attempts to avoid the excitement!

Loved your post!

Cheri J. Crane said...

We really are related, eh, Jennie?! ;) But I can honestly state that I've never been accosted by an airplane. Nor have I walked in the pathway of a gun. You have endured exciting adventures.

Incidentally, I agree with your take on horror flicks. I've never cared for the "Friday the 13th," type of movies either.