Hudson columns occasionally take a serious turnFor the most part, Lew Hudson’s columns are filled with folksy humor and reflections on family and daily life. Once in a while, though, he felt compelled to take a serious turn, and such was the case with the following column. “It’s one that touches everyone’s heart,” said Irma Hudson about a column that confronted the tragic death of a family member.
For the most part, Lew Hudson’s columns are filled with folksy humor and reflections on family and daily life. Once in a while, though, he felt compelled to take a serious turn, and such was the case with the following column.
“It’s one that touches everyone’s heart,” said Irma Hudson about a column that confronted the tragic death of a family member.
“I had a stranger call me, a traveling salesman,” recalled Lew about feedback he received on the column. “He said, ‘I was in your town, spent the night, and I picked up the paper and read this column. I had to call and tell you how much that touched me.’”
She Was Dead —
It Was One of Those Things
By Lew Hudson
She was dead and no one could understand why. The minister at the funeral tried to explain it. He couldn’t. He read the chapter in Proverbs about the value of a good wife and it only made the loss more intense.
The grandfather of her two children tried, but emotion overcame him. Stunned townspeople tried but the best they could do was, “Just one of those things.”
It was just one of those things. Every day she rode with her husband to her job in a neighboring town and every day he drove on to the city where he worked in a major hospital. This day was no different. He stopped to pick her up in the evening. They were talking about the day’s experiences as their car picked up speed heading out of town.
And then it was there — an onrushing station wagon suddenly veering over the center line directly into her path.
There was no escape. The cars slammed together. She never had a chance.
She lay there pinned in the wreckage, mortally injured. He lay there beside her, conscious, but seriously injured. Ambulance and rescue crews from three towns raced to the scene. One was the Pleasantville crew of which he was one of the veteran paramedic members. They had to cut and pry the car apart for 15 minutes to get them out. “Help her first,” he said. “She’s hurt worse than me.”
Just one of those things that happens almost every day. Last year 626 persons died in Iowa traffic accidents. They’re called accidents, but all of them aren’t. Last year 251 persons died in Iowa crashes in which the driving ability of one or more of the drivers was impaired by alcohol. That is not accidental.
Mark this as one of those. Authorities said the driver of the other car was a patient at a mental hospital. He was free to leave the hospital grounds but he was not authorized to drive and certainly not to drink, but he did both. CB radios had been crackling back up the road about the driver who was all over the highway. “He ran me off the road.” “Me too,” they said. The state patrol had been notified but they got to him only after he had crossed the center line and killed an innocent woman.
The church was not large enough to hold everyone. The community was stunned. Everyone loved Rena. She was the first to show up with a hot dish when someone was ill or when there was to be a lunch after a funeral. At family gatherings she was always up to her elbows in dishwater because “someone has to do them.” She made quilts and did ceramics. She loved to cook. She adored her children. Her personality was as beautiful as her face and both were striking.
Now she lay dead in a closed casket surrounded by flowers recalling the beauty that had been hers. Her friends were there. Her family was there. Her 7-year-old daughter and her 10-year-old son were there.
The only one absent was her husband. He lay in a hospital bed with tubes and needles and pain. And the minister struggled to find words to explain why it happened. Finding none he could only quote Rena’s 7-year-old daughter who said in her childish innocence, “Maybe God needed Mommy to bake for the angels.”
Nobody talked about the real reason — that there is a drug called alcohol and that one of its qualities is to dull the senses and impair muscular coordination, and that people consume it willingly and in quantities sufficient to destroy their judgment and that society is unwilling and unable to adequately control the drug’s availability.
To such a problem there seem to be no really good answers, and so this time it was Pleasantville’s turn for “just one of those things.” Tomorrow it will be another town and family and the day after that another … and another … and another.
But don’t blame God for it.