Friday, March 18, 2011

The Somber Hill

I love coming down that hill on my bike and I love to do hill repeats on this curving three-quarter mile incline. Today, I found out a friend of mine was killed on that road: got off the road in a turn, over-corrected and rolled the vehicle. He was not wearing a seat belt and was thrown from the vehicle.

I didn't know where on this road he had had this accident, so I took the course slowly around the turns, trying to identify some sign of the aftermath of the wreck. There it was at my hill. The spray paint was still there on the grass, on the pavement, telling the sad story of my friend's last moments on this earth. And there was one spot circled in orange spray paint, that may have been where his body had been.

My hill is littered with markings of orange spray paint, but even after it is gone, I doubt I will ever traverse this hill without thinking of my friend. He had come a long way back to be the person he was. I taught him in Sunday School and he became so good as a student, I let him teach.

Remembering the last time I saw him: I was running by his house, and he was out working with his tractor. He stopped. We talked. When I began to leave he asked me how far I had come. I told him. He said, "Marvin, I believe you are the toughest man I know." I laughed.

Times like today, standing over my bike, looking at the footprints of his death on the road, I really don't feel all that tough.