“The Miracle of the Corn”


Remember that Ford Falcon I told you about in the State Bank of Remington story that I posted in 2013? You do? Well, there’s another story that goes hand-in-hand with that one. Here it is… As soon as I got my driver’s license and bought a car, my mother decided that she too, should learn to drive. Knowing that dad didn’t have a lot of patience when it came to teaching something to someone that he felt should come naturally to them, my mother turned to our neighbor across the field. Buddy Hayes, you may know him around town as “Blinky”, taught both my mother and me how to drive a straight stick. He would let us drive up and down that old dirt road we lived on to our heart’s content. He was very patient and he’d let you make mistakes without being judgmental, a virtue that not many of us possess. After Mom received all of the training she felt she needed from Buddy, she decided it was time to give her experience a real test. she wanted to take my car out on the pavement, down Sumerduck Road and beyond.

Once we started, Mom did really well. I was in the passenger’s seat and my younger brother was just along for the ride and was in the back seat. Sumerduck Road “651” was a breeze, she did everything right. We turned on Savannah Branch Road, “751”, and still things went smoothly, but this is where the controversy begins and our collective memories of what happened next part ways. I decided to have her turn left on Morgansburg Road, “653”, it runs along the Ott farm, yes the same farm mentioned in the story, The Long Way Home”. Mom says I waited too late to tell her to turn, I think I gave her adequate notice and that said notice abided by the strict Queen’s Standard Protocol for blurting out driving instructions. We will have to agree to disagree on this matter, for there is no documented evidence or video footage that we can cite as a valid and reliable source at this late date. All I know is, no matter who was to blame, the car veered too late to make the turned and the steering was overcorrected to the point that the car ended up in the ditch. I apologize for all the legal mumbo jumbo, but one must be very careful when recounting disputed accounts and recollections, especially in cases yet to be settled. But I will yield to my mother’s version out of respect and the fact that she may knock me up-side the head if I don’t.

The next thing I knew we were sitting cock-eyed in the ditch, teetering precariously to the left. I immediately jumped out of the passenger side door, flailing my arms above my head yelling “My Car, My Car! What have you done to my car!?!?”. I was completely in shock and adrift of my senses as I circled the car, searching through the imagined wreckage looking to assess the damages. The car had not a scratch on it. At that point my little brother decided that he too, should go into panic mode and began crying uncontrollably. It was summer, the windows were down, so I stuck my head in the back window and yelled, “Shut Up! You’re not hurt! My car! My Car! Look at my car!”.

All of a sudden, the ocean of corn parted majestically, a la the Red Sea. A light appeared in its midst and descended down upon us? Was it an hallucination brought on by a concussion? Was it an angel from on high? No, it was none of those, it was Mr. Ott on his tractor. This was old Mr. Ott, not to be confused with the young Mr. Ott. The Mr. Ott, who, from my perspective at the time, owned a farm on the scale of the Ponderosa Ranch on the TV show Bonanza, that Mr. Ott. The Mr. Ott that my father had worked for, milking cows, when he was only 12 or 13 years old, that Mr Ott. But to me all I saw was a guardian angel. He stopped with the tractor still puttering and asked if we needed help. He said he’d brought a chain with him so he could pull us from the miry clay, to wrest us from death’s impending grip! He and his tractor pulled the car out of the ditch. We were saved! Afterwards, we talked. He knew who we were, asked how my Dad was doing and refused to accept any payment for his kind deed. He drove off into the sunset the same way he had arrived. As soon as we returned home we told Dad what had transpired, “The Miracle of the Corn”, as it has come to be known and he immediately got in his car and drove down to the Ott farm to thank him for helping us. And indeed, it was a miracle as far as I was concerned and something that has stayed with me to this day.

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