Sunday, January 28, 2007

Your Whole Family Is Meat!

My sister's family is notorious for car accidents. They're a six-car household with five drivers, three of whom are under 25, so I guess this shouldn't come as a surprise. The only one who seemed to be able to avoid the family curse is my brother-in-law Bryan, who prides himself on his clean driving record. (This is actually statistically intersting, as he drives a lot, at least 500 miles per week.)

Well, I called my sister a few months ago and when I asked how everyone was, she blurted out, "We had another car accident."

"What? Was it Mike again?" My nephew is only eighteen, and he's been in at least half a dozen accidents since he got his license.

"No, it was Bryan," she sighed. "He's okay but the car is a mess."

It happened the night of the Notre Dame-Michigan State football game. Bryan is a Notre Dame grad and buys season tickets to the ND games every season. Normally, he takes my sister or one of the kids, but he told Diana he wanted to ask his dad Henry to the Michigan State game. In nearly twenty years, he's taken my sister and their kids, but never asked his dad to join him. "I asked him why now," my sister said. "He said he was afraid Henry would die and he'd never have taken him to a game." (Poor Henry, he's lucky he didn't die in a car accident instead.)

My sister figures Bryan didn't realize that the game was not only at Michigan State, but it was also a night game. He had a two hour drive to pick up Henry, and then another couple of hours up to Michigan. After they navigated to a parking space and trudged to the game, the first half was beset by heavy rain and high winds. (Bryan claims to this day that the wind actually tore his jacket.) Notre Dame was losing, the weather sucked, but Henry was stoic. Bryan, feeling guilty, told him, "Dad, if we're still losing in the third quarter, we can go home." Henry looked at him in amazement, shook his head, and said, "Butch, this is my first Notre Dame game. I could die and never have a chance to come again. We're not going anywhere!" (Apparently, their family is a bit death-obsessed.)

They sat it out, and unbelievably, ND turned it around and won in the fourth quarter. ("See, aren't you glad we stayed?" Henry asked Bryan.) It was already quite late and pitch black, and Bryan had several hours of driving ahead of him. He and my sister checked in about every hour to make sure he was okay on the road, not falling asleep or anything. As he finally approached his parent's house, turning onto a long, dark country road, Henry stirred: "Careful, Butch, there's a lot of deer out here." "Yeah, well, at this hour they're probably all asleep, Dad," Bryan retorted sarcastically.

You know what happened next, right?

Not five minutes later, a deer bounded out of the woods and the car slammed into it. Bryan hit the brakes and checked on Henry - they were both okay, thank God. They got out to look for the deer, which was laying on the side of the road. They're both hunters, and so Bryan asked sheepishly, "Well, do you want me to load it up so you can take it home?" Henry replied that he really just wanted to GO TO SLEEP, at his own house, in his own bed.

After dropping Henry off, Bryan stopped at the police station, as you're supposed to do if you hit a large animal, and took the cops back to the scene of the accident and the deer had DISAPPEARED. Man, what a night. At least Notre Dame won!

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