A surprise visit from relatives I haven’t seen in almost 15 years was a real treat for Claire and me. My dad’s brother Larry, his daughter Tonya and her son Bentley showed up around noon with Larry’s wife Sherri and her granddaughter Tatiana. Suddenly we had four generations of Salvini’s under one roof. Bentley showed zero fear of my wheelchair, hopping into my lap within minutes of walking through the door. For the next hour or so, I was in full on go-cart mode until Grandpa Ed trumped me by pulling out his golf cart and challenging me to a race. That’s when things got mildly interesting.
It was on the second half of my practice lap that a crucial pin on the back of my head rest decided to break free, dropping my drive controls on the back of my neck and sending me careening at top speed towards Tonya’s new Mazda. For a split second, I thought, Really? After everything that’s gone on in the last week… THIS is how I die?
I was a mere 5 feet away from imminent doom but was somehow able to lean forward, wiggling my neck just far enough away from my drive switch for the chair to come to a stop. Once again, Claire’s catlike reflexes came in handy as she lept into action and hit the kill switch.
Everyone was about to breathe a sigh of relief when two-year-old Bentley, suddenly alone in the golf cart after Grandpa had hopped out to help me, preceded to drive off on his own. Thankfully, Uncle Larry and Grandpa were still close enough to jump inside and stomp on the brakes.
After our collective heart rates returned to normal, we fell into natural family banter as if the last 15 years never happened. Having four generations in one place is a pretty cool experience. I’m just glad we avoided wiping each other out in the span of 15 seconds. Just another day in the life, I guess.