January 24, 2008
By Tori Beard, Portland, MI

It was June 13, 2007; I was ecstatic! The summer had just started, and I just got paid for my services as a babysitter, a mere $550. However, there was one major dilemma…I missed my boyfriend! Sure, I had already talked to him on the phone for a few hours that day, but I longed to see his handsome face. Talking to someone and actually seeing them are two totally different experiences. I wanted to savor his presence and experience his character and charm in person, face to face. He was in a summer basketball league and happened to be playing a game in St. Johns that night. I thought, heck, I’ll surprise him and show up to watch him play. I asked my insanely strict and overprotective mother if I could drive the hour it takes to get to St. Johns and watch him play. She miraculously agreed. This day was turning out to be great, but unfortunately didn’t end up in the same category.

Before leaving, I called my best friend in the whole entire world, Crystal , to see if she wanted to join me. However, not surprisingly, she wanted to hang out with her boyfriend, so we invited him along too. I went to pick them up at her boyfriend Jerry’s house. When I arrived Jerry wasn’t quite ready, so Crystal and I went and practiced our back flips and other simple gymnast moves on his trampoline. You see, Crystal and I are nationally renowned gymnasts, pretty much the black belts of gymnastics. Therefore, whenever we have the chance to practice, we jump on the opportunity. Last year I won the gold medal for the national tournament, and Crystal got the bronze medal. It was truly an amazing experience. Anyways, we finally were ready and started our journey to the basketball game.

We were leaving town on Divine Highway cruising in my 2007 silver Porsche. If you’re wondering, Jerry was sitting on Crystal’s lap but don’t worry; they were double buckled. Like the saying goes, “Click it or Ticket”. Crystal and Jerry, being immature and in love as they are, were distracting me immensely as we approached the first Divine Highway curve. Jerry was covering my eyes, and Crystal was tickling me. To add to this, all of this was occurring while I was trying to adjust the music. Just as we were approaching the curve, a cat ran out in front of my car and just collapsed. This was no ordinary cat, but a plump and fat cat with light hair and orange spots. I mean this cat was HUGE! I swerved to miss the cat and noticed a young child playing on the side of the road and jerked the wheel violently, but still in control, the opposite way to avoid harming him. However, by doing this I shifted my expert driving ability and skill into high gear and barely avoided a head on collision with an elderly lady. By escaping this near fatal accident, I was forced to drive into a twenty-five foot deep ditch and rolled the car six times, landing it in its original, upright position. While rolling we tore down a high voltage electrical fence and were electrocuted. Jerry was affected most by the electrocution. Let’s just say he has never been the same since. We rolled into a horse pasture and whacked a horse, sending it flying into a barn. The next day we had to clear up rumors of a flying horse sighting in the news. Miraculously, there was no damage to the car, and the horse was fine. The electrical fence was easily fixed and there were no serious injuries.

However, coincidentally the chief of police was driving passed off duty and witnessed the entire accident. He notified the Ionia County Police Department about the ordeal. The officer came and had a stern talking to me. This man was big, tall, and ugly. He was bald with sharp, brown teeth. He had warts on his face and donut sprinkles in his mustache. He didn’t believe my story and ticketed me with a $500 fine. I was outraged, but humbly and patiently accepted the consequence. I knew that the confrontation with the officer was a breeze compared to the lashings and cow whip I would deal with when I arrived home. My mother always gets a bit overemotional when she thinks that her star child is put into harms way.

I obviously didn’t make it to my boyfriend’s game, but of course he understood. They won their game and that was good news. From this day on I will always remember my life-threatening experience. If it wasn’t for my exceptional driving skill, there may have been numerous deaths and damage. For my bravery and calmness under immense pressure at the blink of an eye, I was award a medal of honor by the mayor of Portland. I was also honored with a monument on the River walk next to the 911 monument, so all those visiting the Point, or the Portland Bandstand, will know of my heroic achievements. The cat was actually alive and ended up surviving. Upon seeing me approaching him on the road, the cat fainted. Crystal insists it must have been my dazzling beauty that caused the cat to faint; I, however, prefer to believe that it was simply sun stroke.

I will never forget this story. It’s a great one to tell the grandkids. It was truly life changing and threatening, but through this experience I have grown in so many ways. Pleas note that the names of the characters in the story have been changed to protect their identities.

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