It was a lament only for Flavia, praise God

Friday, May 6, 2011.  It had been one of those days.  You know the kind – you’re always running twenty minutes behind schedule, every start is a false start, you retread the same ground over and over and get nowhere in particular. But the day had a promising end – a Lord of the Rings marathon at the Gondolin of Lantern Hollow Press, Melton Mountain – so I took the little annoyances in stride.

But what had been true of the day also proved true of my attempts to get out the office door.  I would start leaving . . . and an after-hours client call would come in.  “No, Smith, we can’t amend your counterclaim to allege that Jones is a member of the evil league of evil. That’s a motion for sanctions waiting to happen. Okay? Have a nice weekend.” Once, I had gotten out the door and a few minutes along the westward road – only to find I’d left my wallet behind.  It was always something.  All told, I finally set out for Melton Mountain about forty-five minutes later than anticipated.

I say all that because forty-five minutes late proved to be quite timely; had I set out on schedule, I would have missed the scene that follows.

I was driving along Father Judge Road in Monroe, Virginia, near the foot of Melton Mountain.  Unusually, I had to stop for a line of cars: an accident.  But on a road like Father Judge, the line of cars won’t get too long. And so even on that narrow, winding road I could see the front of the line – which happened to be Stephanie Thompson’s car, Flavia.  A second’s glance disclosed that Flavia had been totaled.

Immediately I parked at the road’s edge and sprinted the fifty or so yards to the front of the line.

Flavia on that Friday afternoon.

I was relieved to see Stephanie sitting by the totaled Flavia, and to see that she was in better shape than her car.  She was shaken, of course, and in some pain, but alive, in one piece, and without visible injuries.  I uttered a quiet word of thanks to God in heaven.

Now if you’ve been reading the posts at this blog for any length of time, you are no doubt aware that we enjoy making fun of Stephanie for her uncanny skill for finding accidents. Significantly, though, until this day, her accidents had been pedestrian ones. So when I first started hearing Stephanie’s many accident stories (the first time I met her she had a black eye), and asked her, “yet you drive?” she replied that she’d been safer in cars than on foot. About this one accident, though, this one exception to the rule about driver-Stephanie and pedestrian-Stephanie, there isn’t making fun – only gratitude that the life of a dear friend was spared, with her life a prize of war to take wherever she goes.

Sometimes when I hear Stephanie’s accident stories I think that she really must be immortal, for no mortal could have survived all that.  That’s in jest, but more seriously, a friend of mine once told me that we’ve no reason to fear death, since (among other reasons) we are immortal until God has accomplished through us all He intends to accomplish.  Stephanie, with her characteristic rigor, has tested that thesis more thoroughly than anyone I know. Evidently God intends to accomplish more through her: presently the teaching of delightful Chinese students, the winning of volleyball championships, and the writing of well-footnoted stories.[1] In the days, months, years to come, who knows?

This much I can say with confidence: Whatever Stephanie does, she will bless us, even from halfway round the world.  She always has.

[1] And from one 1930s-40s movie fan to another – please don’t give up on the forties movie novel.  I’d really like to read it.  Footnotes and all.


Posted on October 30, 2011, in Lantern Hollow Press Authors. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I remember sitting at the top of the aforementioned mountain, awaiting the long-anticipated movie marathon, and joking with our mutual friends about how Stephanie was probably late because of some catastrophe or other, as usual, but somehow not quite believing it. It was a bit jarring to discover that it was, indeed, an accident that was causing the delay. We were all relieved, to say the very, very least, to know that she was okay and that she had no less than a lawyer on the scene to make sure all went smoothly with the discussion of why certain people coming in the opposite direction felt that they could drive down the middle of a windy mountain road instead of staying to one side (idiots).

    We’re glad you triumphed over such an adversity, Stephanie.

    And we miss you, Flavia! RIP!

  2. So very glad that no one was seriously hurt! Except for Flavia, of course. I did not know the vehicle, but I offer my condolences nonetheless, if for nothing else than the excellence of her beautiful name. (Flavia happens to be the name of Aquila’s lovely sister in The Lantern Bearers, my favorite non-Tolkien novel).

    And I, too, encourage Stephanie not to give up that forties movie novel! I’m a huge film buff, especially for films of the 1930s-1950s, and while I don’t know what exactly this book idea is, it sounds great enough to me.

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