When he was about three years old, my littlest brother Tain somehow got through our five-foot fence and started weaving across the New England Highway, pushing his little wooden cart between the steady stream of B-doubles and semi-trailers that came roaring down the bitumen at 110 kilometres an hour.
The first we knew of it was in the screech of swerving vehicles and the long, loud air horns of the big trucks. We raced from all the corners of our house, out of the gate and onto the highway, my mother, my sisters, my brother, and me. But Tain was away up the road and innocently unaware of the sickening danger. We knew we couldn’t get to him in time. My mother was already crying. And when she saw the next semi barrelling down the highway towards him, she couldn’t look. She turned away, covering her face with her hands.
Then a crazy thing happened. Someone ahead of the semi – a man travelling in a white ute – leapt out of the driver’s seat with the engine still running. His passenger had to lean across to take the wheel and steer the ute to the verge. Meanwhile this man, a tattooed stranger in a faded navy singlet, darted across the highway and through the traffic to my little brother. He snatched Tain up in his arms and held him there in the middle of the road while the whole cavalcade of death machines swerved and sped past. When he delivered Tain – smiling, chirping, oblivious Tain – to my near-hysterical mother, he told us he’d seen the small figure crossing the highway from way back. “I started screaming at the trucks to stop,” he said breathlessly, “only they couldn’t hear me. I knew the kid was gonna take a hit, and I thought: I can take a bigger hit than the kid. I just had to get to him.”
That was more than ten years ago, and I still haven’t found the words to accurately respond to that. In the form of a burly ute-driver with tattoos, Tain bumped up against amazing grace that day.
This Flashback Friday post is a snippet stolen from an essay I handed in for school today.
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Amanda -- birthdays are never as amazing as I want them to be for the excellent people in my life, but I hope Mum had fun :D
Brenda Wilkerson -- it's very cool to have a mum who is also my great friend. I'm aware that it's a rare blessing!
Daphne -- hear, hear!
Andrea -- :D
Mothercare -- <3
Samantha R -- yay! Great mums are just the best.
Rebecca Simon -- don't you wish it was easier to say those potentially sappy things?
Andrea again -- I UPDATE NAOW OKZ??