As you may or may not recall, March 23rd is a day we celebrate every year. The day someone survived a near-fatal three-wheeler accident. You can read most of the story on the link. And more on this year’s commemorative trip to the chicken place in just a bit.
However, also in the more-to-the-story-business is the guy named Dave. The friend who had the 3-wheeler and the property on a river where the guys would go riding. And how he was on the back of the 3-wheeler while my not-yet-husband was driving it flat-out into a telephone pole. When said vehicle struck said telephone pole, John hit face-first and knee first, snapping his femur like a matchstick. Passenger Dave went flying through the air, straddling a fence post in mid-flight.
He gets back to John, who is in an obviously bad way, bleeding, unconscious, having seizures, etc. A truck with a couple of oil field guys pulls up immediately. Dave hands them his keys, sends them to his farmhouse up the road and tells them to call 911. Dave’s dad happens onto the scene and helps take control of the situation (always loves me someone who can keep a cool head) … Police arrive, ambulance arrives, John is whisked off to the local hospital.
At the emergency room, teams work on him and call in the Medi-flight folks to get John to the Trauma Center at the University Hospital in OKC as soon as possible. Someone thinks to send the highway patrolman back to the house for his wallet. I think Dave was making up an address for him and also insurance information since no one knew where he actually lived or was staying while in town and for sure no one knew what insurance he did or did not have.
So anyway, off John goes in a helicopter to the Big City hospital. Meanwhile, Dave is getting the once-over from an E.R. nurse. She says to him, “Are you sure you are okay?” He says he is fine and he is just worried about his friend. She says, “I don’t THINK you are fine, let’s check you out.” And she looks pointedly at the crotch area of his jeans.
Dave went over a fence post, remember? In straddle position. The jeans were ripped from knee to knee … tearing apart that famous double inseam, right? Well she checks him over and makes sure everything is in place and luckily, nothing is missing. Dave says, if he ever has kids, he is going to name them after John.
Okay, so fast forward twenty years. TWENTY YEARS! March 23, 2011 was the 20th anniversary of the motorcycle accident! Can’t even believe it has been TWENTY YEARS!
So, since we commemorate the date every year anyway, John calls up Dave and arranges to go out to the little hole-in-the-wall restaurant they were eating at on the day two decades earlier; we are supposed to meet up, drink a beer or two, eat some chicken, shake hands and be on our way back to town, right?
We make it to El Reno (The Reno in Spanish), visit the accident scene and take a photo of the survivor and “the” telephone pole.
And then. Here’s the more-to-the-story bit.
We have all heard the Dave-going-over-the-fencepost story for 20 years.
What we have NOT heard is that Dave has stayed in touch with that Emergency Room nurse over the years. Of course, being a small town, everyone knows everyone anyway, and Dave knew this girl’s mother/family and what-not from your usual small town networks.
So guess who he brings to our little reunion? Yes, this same emergency room nurse who worked on John the day of the accident. She has a very clear memory of the actual event. She remembers it so well because she was still in school for nursing, and she happened to be working with her mother that night (also a nurse). It was one of the very few cases that they ever worked together. She now lives in Boise, Idaho, and has done for years, but happened to be in town this week visiting a sick relative.
So I heard details about seizures and aspiration and stabilizing and ambulances and Barney Fife and things about that day that I had not heard before.
And if I’m not mistaken, there was some sort of little spark of something going on between these two. In fact, I’d bet on it.
And the little restaurant? Eischen’s of Okarche, Oklahoma. Featured on Diners Drive-Ins, and Dives.
John is known as “Tex” to certain people in this restaurant, namely Ed in this clip. Ed’s daughter Nancy married Scott, a guy who worked with John when he first came to the States, and he is the one who went to school with Dave, and they all used to hang out together before I met John. They had been to Eischen’s on the day of the accident. And that is where we all met up 20 years later.
Sorry for the long post if you are still reading at this point! Just had a lot to say.