Follies: The phone call that all parents fear

By Jim Northrup
News From Indian Country 1-09

I got the phone call all parents fear. It was my son Joe on the phone. His words sent icicles into my heart. He said, “Check on Aaron, he’s been in a car crash.”

I called Aaron on his cellyphone. He answered and said he was in the Cloquet Hospital Emergency Room. I knew he was driving the '78 Monte Carlo. I also knew he was taking his finals at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College.

I drove to Cloquet.

I got to the hospital and asked about my son. I was directed to Room 6 of the Emergency Room. I walked down the hall to Room 6; my mind was swirly, full of questions. Nitam, first I needed to see my son.

I walked into the room and saw Aaron laying on a yellow back board.  His head was immobilized. His face had streaks of dried blood, still bleeding from a wound on his lower lip. It wasn’t the serious kind of bleeding, the kind that spurts and squirts.  Our eyes met and I held his hand. His grip was tight so I knew that part worked. I asked him to move his legs and he did. I thanked the Creator.

I asked him what happened.

Aaron said he was going home from school on Highway 210, just past the casino. He started going up that little hill.  He said he hit a stretch of black ice and slush. The car slid sideways and he turned into the skid, the car spun and he was still sliding.

He turned the steering wheel and the car slid the other way. A small pickup came over the hill and tried to stop. The truck slid and hit the passenger side of Wiwiib. The impact knocked the car nose first into the ditch. He remembers getting out of the car and the arrival of the ambulance. The car Aaron was driving was T-boned.

While we were talking, Aaron’s cellyphone rang. He sent a text message to a friend.

I was glad to see his injuries were minor, if the truck hit him when the car was sliding driver’s door first it, would have been bad, major injuries or a funeral. I again thanked the Creator.

I talked to the Highway Patrolman.  He said after looking at the car he thought Aaron used up one of his nine lives.

A group of medical people came in.  They rolled him back and forth and got the back board out from under him.

Aaron said his back hurt from laying on the board. A nurse came in and cut off his shirts and began cleaning him up.

When he was cleaned up I got a closer look at the wound on his lower lip. I am not a doctor nor do I play one on TV but that wound needed stitches. His eyelid needed a couple of stitches also.

Aaron was wheeled off for a CAT scan and X-rays. I went outside for a breath of fresh air and a smoke. I went back to Room 6 and waited.

I knew my son was in good hands. I called my wife and told her the news; she was in a hospital in St. Paul with her mother. She was torn between being with her mother or her son. She knew I was handling things on this end so she stayed with her mom.

The doctor arrived to stitch up Aaron’s wounds. While sewing she told me the Highway Patrolman told her of three other incidents on that stretch of the highway that day.

Once he was sewed up we left the Emergency Room. There were two young girls waiting for my son to come out. When they saw him they hugged him and he smiled.

The next day we went to gaze at the Monte Carlo. The passenger door was pushed all the way to the driver’s seat from the impact. I knew no one would ever drive that car again. The car did what it was supposed to do; it absorbed the impact and protected my son.

Aaron thought he left his laptop in the car so we looked for it. The tow truck driver said there was no computer in the car when he towed it. Aaron gathered up his stuff from the wrecked car. I told him to go to the Sheriff’s office and report the theft of his computer. Aaron drove to Carlton and talked with a deputy about his missing computer.

We went grocery shopping and talked about the crushed car and missing computer. We also talked about how fortunate Aaron was to escape major injuries in the car crash.

I told Aaron he got a crash course in winter driving.

Mii iw, mii sa iw.


The views expressed in this column belong to the writer alone. Comments and bingo packs can be send to FdL Follies, PO Box 16, Sawyer, MN 55780-0016 email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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