Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Stranger Things Have Happened

Ever had a brain fart that lasted for days and days? I don't know whether it's because this old brain is so full of exciting and interesting information that it just hasn't been able to find it's way out through the crowded facts and fantasies stored there or whether I've just plain been too lazy to think. Most likely the latter.

It is 8:45 PM Pacific time and I just arrived home about 15 minutes ago from a twelve hour trip to Kennewick, WA for a meeting with my boss and a training class pertaining to Workmen's Comp and Drug and Alcohol. The first meeting confirmed rumors running rampant for several weeks and the second was a refresher course with some new information added. Both affect my job in profound ways but the trip itself reminded me of a strange thing that happened to me a couple of years ago while driving that road from the Tri Cities by myself.

The highway between Moscow and the Tri Cities (Pasco, Kennewick, Richland, WA) is a two and a half hour drive through the rolling hills of the Palouse, filled with miles and miles of dry farms growing wheat, canola, lentils, and dry peas, down into the desert flat lands of the Columbia River basin where vegetables, fruits and wine country dominate the landscape.

My trips there and back give me plenty of time to quietly talk to God and myself, to rock out to great music, or to simply drink in the wonders of Creation. On this particular trip, after a fun weekend at MaryHell's, I was a little tired and listening to soft rock as I drove into the rolling hills of the Palouse. It was this same time of year when the hills are like a huge blanket of every shade of green and brown known to mankind, along with the blossoming trees and wildflowers popping there heads up randomly along the roadsides.

The hills of the Palouse don't come close to being what I would consider a mountain to be, but if you were to try climbing some of them, you would definitely be more than a little winded before reaching the top. Farm equipment the size of small houses become dwarfed in the vastness of those rolling fields.

Hopefully, that gives you a picture of what I was seeing as I drove the two-lane highway toward Moscow. Although I was tired from the flurry of activity I'd enjoyed with MH, I am always alert when driving narrow, snakelike byways. I was driving downhill into an area where the hills on either side of the road are quite high when I noticed an airplane coming over the top of one of those hills about a mile or two ahead of me and to my left. The music on my radio was quiet and soft so I immediately noticed that couldn't hear a sound from that plane so I rolled my window down; still no sound. That was not the only unusual thing about the plane........it looked like an old B 29 Bomber from WWII except that it was less than half the size and had no marking on it whatsoever, just the dull silver of planes flown sixty years ago. My heart began to pound as I observed how low and slow it was flying. The hill to my right was higher than the plane was flying, and the distance to it was only a few hundred feet from the highway.

"Oh, my God!" I thought, "that plane is going to fly into the side of that hill." I panicked, not having anywhere to stop. I pressed my foot to the brake to slow myself way down, fearing an explosion was about to occur and I need to get my cell phone to call for help. I was terrified for the people flying that plane and started a pleading conversation with God for their end to be painless. The plane crossed over the highway in front of my car as I shook like a leaf, driving at a near standstill. I could see that there was no way a crash could be avoided, knowing in a few seconds I would hear that awful sound. Instinct made me take my eyes off the road to look. What I saw made me question my sanity. I saw nothing! No plane, no crash...........nothing.

As I sped up, the road curved to the right giving me a perfect view of the clear blue skies and the hills where that plane should be, but there was nothing. Less than a minute had passed. What did I see? I have no clue. If it was a figment of my imagination, it was as real as this computer I am typing upon this very minute. I saw it, I felt it, I did not imagine it. I sobbed for the last thirty-five miles home. To this day, every time I drive through that area, I remember and wonder what mystery of life that was all about. It haunts me because it was not the first time in my life I have seen a plane that vanished into nowhere. The first time was many years ago in Pocatello, Idaho. My sister DeWe, who was with me in the car that day, witnessed the same phenomenon. Are we both crazy? I don't think so, but one never knows.

Ever had something this strange happen in your lifetime? Let me know.

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