Within the space of 72 hours I was shown clear evidence that bad things do happen to good people. I also discovered that these decent, kind, loving, and generous people overcome terrible trials with the grace and forbearance that is God’s gift to all of us!
Entire books have been written on the subject of why bad things happen to good people. But until this week, I had never really stopped to look around me at how this phenomenon actually affects my friends, my neighbors, some of my own family. Often there is an accident here, a difficult divorce or financial problem there, or maybe someone close has to suffer the rigors of cancer treatments, the loss of a parent. But this last week, just visiting up and down Main Street Senoia, I heard tales of trials and of courage, and I have been given permission to use real names as I tell the stories of “how bad, bad things” do indeed happen to some really nice people.
I was completely surprised when Bonnie Holberg, who is as pretty as she is talented, told me that she had just gotten back out into the world after two months at home recuperating from a freak accident the result of a fall on the uneven brick sidewalks along Main Street. Only by looking closely could I see the remnants of the gash up and across her forehead and into her hair line that had required great attention by physicians. I forgot to ask how many stitches it took after I learned that she had also broken her nose in three places! She said that everything happened so fast, catching her foot, stumbling, and falling, as she recalled, “flat out on my face,” that she didn’t even have time to break her fall, just went slam into the unyielding brick. Later, she told me, her dear friend Gail Downs was there to comfort and to help her in this very difficult time. Bonnie said she could hardly recognize her own face, swollen to three times its normal size.
When I talked with Bonnie, she was helping out, minding the store at Gail’s Antiques because her best friend Gail was still in rehab in Newnan after suffering a similar fall just weeks after Bonnie was injured. Oddly, it was another freak accident that caused Bonnie’s best friend to suffer horrible trauma just as Bonnie’s lovely face was healing.
I had stopped in to check on the progress of my friend Gail, the proprietor of the shop, now operated in partnership with Cynthia Lawrance, who shared with me her own tale of unbelievable horror, (that will have to wait a moment or two), and learned that Gail has yet a few more weeks before she can go home. I called her later that day in order to wish her a speedy recovery and to apologize for not being a better friend.
Her voice was still hoarse; she had lain in the dark, screaming for help for 15 or 20 minutes after she tripped on a wrought iron flower bed adornment. “This must have seemed like an eternity,” I said rather lamely. She explained that among other serious injuries, she actually heard her leg break. The good news was that the woman, who with her husband was walking their dog and finally heard Gail, had medical training and was able to instruct the EMT’s as how NOT to move this dear lady in order to minimize the damage. Anyway, thankfully, although she had numerous surgeries with implanted steel plates and such, this really sweet person is better and will be home in a few weeks.
On Friday night, the annual Senoia Merchants Open House, Bill and I stopped again at Gail’s Antiques as we made our way up and down Main Street, the slight drizzle not dampening the crowd’s pleasure in the early holiday décor and delicious refreshments offered in the shops. I was thrilled to finally introduce myself to Cynthia Lawrance, the lady who, along with her British husband I have been most anxious to meet.
As I mentioned earlier, Cynthia told me of suffering a horrific accident just moments after she had scattered her husband’s ashes from a boat. Another craft hit the vessel Cynthia was in, and while others were not seriously injured, she is now walking about with an iron (maybe its steel…for sure not something that came with her body) rod in her back. Cynthia was dealing with Stage 3 cancer while she recuperated from a series of operations!! We bonded immediately over our love of all things English, of antiques, and of good tea and good conversation! I cannot wait to become fast friends with this very nice lady. Good people; Bad things.
Finally, on Saturday Bill and I were serving as docents at the Senoia History Museum on the afternoon before the annual Fall Auction and were happy to see one of the first people who had befriended us when we moved to Senoia five years ago. Merle Brannon, also a Mississippi transplant, recounted the horror she and her husband Bill recently experienced when an 18-wheeler ran them off Interstate 65 in Alabama. The sedan she was driving quickly went out of control and airbags began going off like Popcorn! The trucker did not stop, but three cars did, all reporting the trucker’s aggression. One of these was a woman from Sharpsburg, who lived only a few minutes from Merle’s home. Thankfully, Good Samaritans are often found at the site when “bad things happen to good people.”
While Bill is still suffering head pains, Merle, as usual, is lending a helping hand at the Senoia History Museum. The Society raised over $5000 at the Saturday night auction. Thank you, good people of Senoia…for everything. Please be careful.