Forty-two years ago last Tuesday (though it was Saturday that year) as we were traveling at about 35 mph southbound on Empire Way (now MLK Way) taking a kid home from church camp at Cascade Meadows, a teenager who had taken his grandmother’s car without permission hung a U-ey in front of our VW camperbus at about 80 mph.
My parents were the only ones killed. I, 14 years old and the oldest of us four kids, was the only one “uninjured”. That evening at the hospital, a well-meaning (?) idiot from the coroners’ office took me aside and sat me down and told me my mother was dead, and that I was going to have to drop out of school and “be a mother to your brothers and sister” because my dad wasn’t going to be able to handle the whole load himself. He said he knew I would do fine, because his dad died when he was 17 and look how well he was doing … and then when I woke up the next morning, my father was dead, too.
So this middle week of August has ever since had a certain numinousness about it for me.
This year, the week began when, on the bus going to church, I met a man who told me he had just been visiting a family in his own church, seven kids who had just lost their father in a traffic accident. And then today, the end of the week, I found a CD on a garbage can downtown (1st and Pine) entitled Home: a cappella Gospel Singing by The Eshes: “In loving memory of the nine members of the John Esh family who died in a tragic accident on March 26, 2010”. I have enjoyed listening to the nineteen songs on the album (several of them by John Esh), and thought I should post this one: Daddy, Will You Be There for Me? by Michael Overholt… (MP3 File)