Remembering Here&Now — 11 September 2011

Premananda remembers an accident and ambulance ride on the Ranch

Once upon a winter time I was driving one of the Baal Shem big rigs back from Portland, full of yogurt, flour and sugar …

The County chose that day to do some grading on the county road. Just as it snowed lightly. The grader driver decided he could just as well act as a snow plough – not perhaps realising that the pressure of the blade effectively turned the otherwise innocuous soft snow into a skating rink.

At the turn before ‘Top of the Ranch’, in the dip, despite chains and extreme caution, my rig and I failed to make the turn, and we ended up in the ditch and on the side.

Top of the Ranch

'Top of the Ranch'

I was unscathed, and sat by the side of the road until someone came by and could alert ‘Top of the Ranch’. Then the fun started! I think we had a natural inclination to get overexcited about anything we could not quite understand (anyone remember the UFO conversation on the radio one night when someone at ‘Top of the Ranch’ saw the planet Venus shining very bright?)

But I digress. Soon all the traffic on the County Road was halted as the Ambulance was sent up from the Medical Centre. I protested to no avail that I was fine, but I think we’d just gotten this shiny new ambulance and had had no opportunity to use it yet, so “Surrender, Swami.” “OK.”

By the time they picked me up I was half frozen (which could have been avoided if I’d simply gotten a ride from anyone else), so I welcomed the efforts of two beautiful nurses to warm me up and give me attention. We drove down the hill with lights flashing, occasionally I would look out the window to observe the chaos of Ranch and visitor cars half in the ditch in the snow to let us by – I heard later RBG had to tow some of them out after we passed.

But then we got to Desiderata – much lower, warmer, and therefore no snow. The ambulance driver pulled over to remove the chains. I heard all kinds of clanking, muffled and then not so muffled curses from under the vehicle. Then, “Er, Swami, would you by any chance know how to remove snow chains?”

So the patient morphed into a mechanic, climbed out and under the ambulance and removed said chains. Then got back in and on the bed again.

I did hear that the cleanup crew sent out from Magdalena to deal with the half frozen mess out of the trailer on its side were anything but full of love for me after that.

Text by Premananda


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