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My Precious Black Pearl Got Smacked in a Roundabout

There are some days when no matter what you do, you can’t win. Last Saturday was one of those days for me. It started out with my microwave, which I received as a college graduation present in 1995, refusing to thoroughly cook my breakfast burrito. (Our 11-year-old microwave went out a few weeks ago, so we’ve been using mine from my single days.) I finally ate my burrito while it was still cold in the middle after cooking it for twice the time it’s supposed to take.

Then I hopped in my car and started driving to an Ozarks Romance Authors meeting in Springfield, which is usually an hour and 15 minutes to an hour and 30 minutes away. Saturday, it took me much longer than usual, so I barely made it before the meeting started.

I certainly didn’t want to miss that meeting because Author Sage Hunter was talking to us about Kindle Vella, a topic on which I am very interested. Several authors I know are using the platform, and I may give it a try soon.

Our meeting ran long due to the amazing topic and great information provided, and I needed to get back to Joplin for a book signing by 2:00 p.m. My friend, Author Larry Wood, was signing his new book, The Ozarks Spook Light. Because I grew up and have lived in the area hearing Spook Light stories most of my life, the topic is of great interest to me. The cover designer, Sam Reeves, was also there, and I wanted to talk to him about Larry’s amazing cover.

I had an hour and a half to get there, so I figured I’d slide in at the very end of the signing. I was right on schedule until I went through the Stones Corner roundabout in the Village of Airport Drive. Those of you from the area know exactly where I mean and how many accidents happen there. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, the roundabout is two lanes except for one portion, which is a single lane.

I was in the single lane portion preparing to exit onto Main Street heading south when I caught sight of a white pickup truck coming from the west in my peripheral vision, and he wasn’t stopping (He was supposed to yield to traffic in the roundabout.). In fact, he was pretty much coming hell for leather right at me and very close to being in my lap. I had the single thought that I was about to be t-boned. I spun my wheel in an effort to avoid him, but I was unsuccessful.

Yep, he got me. He smacked the back passenger side door and right back fender. While it’s ugly, my car is still drivable. Thankfully, neither of us was hurt. He was actually a pretty nice guy. We had plenty of time to talk during the hour we waited for the Highway Patrol to arrive to work the accident.

He apologized profusely for the accident. He said he didn’t see me. He told me how he was coming from his daughter’s volleyball game and how he was thinking about stopping by the mall to buy his wife a birthday present. He even told me how frustrated he gets with people not using roundabouts properly and was embarrassed by the fact that he failed to yield and hit me.

He seemed concerned about my well-being and my car. He even had me be sure my passenger side doors opened and closed properly. We both took pictures of the damage to our vehicles, and I must say that his 20-year-old truck fared much better than my 10-year-old car.

All in all, the damage to both vehicles seems pretty minor. The doors work, no fluids were leaking, and the tires spin without rubbing the fender wells. Of course, there have been no repair estimates yet. I’m sure even the seemingly minor damage my car sustained will cost a bundle to repair. We’ll see what the insurance adjuster has to say.

Interestingly enough, as we were telling the Highway Patrol trooper what happened, we heard squealing brakes and a horn from the exact same spot our accident had occurred an hour earlier. I mentioned that it’s a bad spot. The trooper agreed and told us he works a great many accidents there. It reaffirms my position that roundabouts are a bad idea.

The part of the experience that gave me pause was when the other driver walked up to me with the trooper after the scene had been processed. After the trooper explained how I could request a copy of the accident report in 10 days and gave me a sheet of paper with our particulars on it, the man who hit me had one last thing to say.

He looked me in the eye and said, “Again, I’m sorry for all this. Thanks for not yelling at me.”

It didn’t even occur to me to yell at him. He didn’t mean to hit me. He wasn’t drinking or driving recklessly. He simply didn’t see me and ran into me. I’ve done the same thing, myself. It’s quite upsetting to cause an accident. Being yelled at only makes everyone feel worse.

I smiled at him and said, “These things happen. It could’ve been a lot worse. Have a safe trip home.”

Unfortunately, I missed the book signing. After the trooper cleared the accident, I went to the bookstore, Always Buying Books, and purchased two of the last three copies of the book that Larry had left from his signing. One is for Mom, who also grew up hearing those Spook Light stories. The other is for me. Always Buying Books will continue to carry this book for anyone who is interested.

I told Bob and Alyse what happened and then indulged in some happy place shopping. In addition to the two copies of The Ozarks Spook Light, I purchased a beautiful edition of The Merry Adventures of Robinhood and three cozy mysteries.

As I was paying, Alyse asked me if I felt better after book shopping. I assured her that I did. Retail therapy is like that first cup of morning coffee, and book shopping is like starting your morning with a latte that has a double shot of espresso and extra caramel.

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