Yesterday I posted a photo of my for-sale Nikon FM2. Here’s the story of how I got it.
About a month before I was to be married, the two unmarried Hertzlers boys and our parents set out for Langewood for a last vacation before we went off and changed families. Hertzlers have a vacation packing rule: The volume of items packed for a vacation is exactly equal to the amount of space available in the vehicle. We were packed to the gills with all our toys.
Just north of Madison, I dozed off in the back seat while reading my book. My dad, getting a reprieve in driving from Jim, fell asleep in the seat next to me. Between us was our toy poodle, Trixie. Soon Mom fell asleep in the front seat along with our cat that had recently been diagnosed with feline leukemia. Jim, feeling all the good vibes, fell asleep, too.
We all woke up after the loud crash on the bottom of the car and discovered we were careening over a small embankment into the oncoming lanes of southbound traffic!
Jim, always calm and collected, brought the car under control on the shoulder without hitting any of the oncoming cars. We all gathered our wits and felt like we had just cheated death.
But that’s not all.
Just to our right, up the embankment, was a good samaritan who had stopped to help us. He was flailing his hands and yelling wildly, “Get out, get out!!” This was rather odd, given that we had landed safely, but we gave him our attention and looked around for more clues.
Out the back window we saw flames approaching from the rear. Now we understood and all bailed out – all except for Mom whose passenger door was pinned against the concrete retaining wall. Jim, Dad, and I had cleared the car, and as we looked back we could see black smoke billowing out the back of the car and flames beginning to lick the back tires. Dad, the hero, ran back and helped drag Mom out the driver’s side door just as it all was about to blow. Mom, the hero to our dog, kept her grip on Trixie and managed to get her out, too. The cat disappeared, though, and we never saw her again. I’m sure she enjoyed her last days chasing mice in some nearby Wisconsin farmhouse.
We watched as the car became completely engulfed in flames a few seconds later.
The roof sagged in, the tires all burned away, and the flames reached twenty feet in the air. By the time the fire truck arrived, the flames had done their job; the car was fully cooked. It was a fitting end to this Ford which had been unreliable from the start.
Thanks to the wonders of American household insurance, we got to replace all our burned up stuff with new stuff. I walked into Creve Coeur Camera the next week and bought myself a new Nikon FM2.
I made it to Langewood that year after all, only with Cathy as my new bride – on our honeymoon.