A photo of a bike.
LeFox / Pixabay

“The story you are about to read is true, some of the names have been changed to protect the innocent.”

Somewhere around the month of January 1976 and after Christmas, I decided that I would borrow my sister’s green, 24-inch, three-speed bike and go for a ride in the neighborhood. We lived in the area of 5th & E Streets at this time. My mom had told me time and time again, when riding the bike to stay in the area. But, for whatever reason, I took it upon myself to do what I wanted and ignore her rules and orders. I ended up venturing out of the neighborhood and rode the bike all the way to Union Station, where I definitely was not to go without permission, especially not with my sister’s bike.

Then, to add insult to injury, I had taken a drink of brown liquor I found around the house, before I left. I couldn’t have been more than 12 or 13 at the time. But suddenly I found my vision impaired and my coordination way out of whack, which was not a good recipe for good judgement and certainly one for an accident.

Riding recklessly and without a care in the world, for myself or others, I careened on and off sidewalks, up and down streets near the nation’s capital with reckless abandon, until I was brought to a sudden and disastrous stop. Not paying any attention and being somewhat drunk, I had sped through a caution yellow light and was struck by a motorist in an oncoming car.

The only things that come to my recollection are horns blaring and noisy, glass-breaking sounds. When I eventually regained consciousness, I was lying against the curb and the gutter, bleeding from my entire face, which was riddled with pieces of broken glass.

It was later ascertained that upon impact with the car, the velocity of the bike and the car contributed to hurling me into the air and slamming me into the windshield. There I received lacerations to my entire face, pock-marking it with shard of glass.

As I lay there against the curb and gutter, with my vision impaired by blood and glass, not to mention the Windsor Canadian liquor I sampled earlier and the shock that had caused my adrenaline to sky rocket — I began to realize I was in serious, serious trouble to say the least! As my head cleared and I gathered my senses, I bolted to my feet. I was still dizzy and not sure of what to do. I ran in the opposite direction of the fatality.

The people around me eventually apprehended me so I would not inflict more harm upon myself. They had to hold me down until the paramedics and ambulances arrived. They hurriedly transported me to the Roger’s Memorial Hospital. I am a blessed individual to be alive. I sustained sixty-four plus sutures to my face and have a scar as a result.

Also, as a result of this “joy ride”, the tip of my nose is indented and as a reminder, there is a chunk of meat missing from it. I had to have my face entirely bandaged until I got healed.

(to be continued)