This happened to Me!
(01/28/2019) This Happened to Me on January 1, 2014Well, it has been a long while since I added to my ramblings on the website, but I can vividly remember reading about stories called (This happened to me) when I was a kid growing up in the mid-1960s. I can’t remember if it was Field & Stream or American Sportsman or some other Hunting, Fishing, Shooting magazine that had this column, but I remember reading and enjoying all the incidents that happened to sportsman while hunting and fishing across the country. Some fell off mountains and survived, some got mauled by grizzly bears and survived, all equally harrowing experiences where they lived to tell the tale.So I am going to tell you about two important things that happened to me…!!! I know what you are thinking, oh yeah who gives a crap….LOL. One is a change of lifestyle and the other is a true story of a crazy incident.The first event is that I finally, finally, retired. After spending 32 years in the Commercial Print Industry, I finally hung up my cleats. My last 10 years was with Canon Solutions America, then 15 years with Xerox, then approximately 7 years with A Canon distributor in the Northeast. I was in a demanding and nerve-racking world of multi-million budgets and sale deadlines of a Senior Corporate Sales Executive. It was a long hard haul especially working the crazy hours, traveling, and accompanied with the never-ending stress. And, to top it all off, try running the Gun Shop and doing Gun Shows once a month for the past 7 years. YES, I am glad to be retired.Also after many years, my last and largest item on my bucket list was finally accomplished two years ago. My wife and I finally purchased log home in the country with land. We have about 10 wooded acres in North East PA and we also built the new Hunters Hut Gun Shop right next door, and we couldn’t be happier. A big plus is I am less than 7 miles from all my family. I have been blessed with a great wife that stood behind me with all my crazy business endeavors and a warm loving supportive family. I give thanks to the almighty for making my last wish come through as they say, I am living the dream…. Literally.Now that brings me to my next story, and yes this happened to me, It actually happened to my wife and me on the very first day of a new year.The year is 2014, and my wife and I stayed up at our Lake House in Lake View Estates in the Poconos. You have to remember at this time I am still living in Allentown in the Lehigh Valley. We have owned this second home for 13 years and tried to spend our holidays with family and friends in the Scranton area. It was New Year’s Eve and we spent the night at a gala event at my nephew Louie’s house. Yes, it is the same die-hard hunting Louie my nephew that is mentioned in my other hunting adventures in my previous stories. We always enjoyed ourselves immensely at these parties and had far to much homemade wine and great Italian food that I usually had to be rolled or carried home.But the next morning my wife and I decided to head home to Allentown so we could relax a bit before we both had to go back to work to our regular jobs. My wife Mem was also holding down two full-time jobs, one as the Parish Secretary for St. Joseph, and other running a vending business with over 30 machines in the field. But in June of 2018 Mem has also retired, now she just drives me crazy with honey do’s and is my main sidekick in the Hunters Hut Gun Shop business, ok back to the story.It was January 1, 2014. The start of a brand new year. If I knew what was in store for me on this very first day I would have never left the Lake House. It was a bitterly cold day at 18 Degrees and the wind was really whipping making it feel even colder. With everybody nursing hangovers from the previous night’s New Year’s Eve party, we decided to leave a little early for home and started packing the jeep for the trip home.The year before I purchased a brand new Jeep Wrangler Sahara, stick shift. This Jeep was originally purchased to pull behind our 36 ft. Diesel Pusher motor home. That was another stage of our lives that could be written into a book, maybe I will do this happened to me on our motor home travels. OMG, everything from exploding poop tanks to getting our rear jeep window blown out while traveling. Hmm, there seems to be a coincidental occurrence to this particular Jeep and road disasters, maybe it was a good thing I sold it. Ok back to the story.We made all the usual rounds through the house and were all packed. We always took what we call the back way home. This included jumping on Rt 380 South, to RT 80 West, to Rt 33 South and finally the double deuce of death Rt 22 West. All in all, it was about a 65-mile drive, just perfect when we wanted to make a quick escape and get away for the weekend. I was born and raised in Dunmore and this area was always considered home for me, even though I have been out of the area for over 40 years. I didn’t expect any traffic since it was New Year’s Day plus we were leaving at about 10:30 AM in the morning. All the party goers should still be in bed at this time, and it seemed they were, the road was almost deserted, the keyword here is almost. Ya never know what’s lurking in the bushes ☺I got on RT 380 South right outside of Gouldsboro and started cruising down the road at a pretty good clip. The Jeep Sahara stick was in 5th gear and the speedometer was pushing past 75 MPH. Like I said the day was clear and cold, and my mind started drifting off to what I had to accomplish at work the next day, the road was almost empty and Mem was playing candy crush on her iPhone next to me. Ho hum I am at ease and all's right with the world, when suddenly I look down the road about 100 yards ahead, I see some kind of movement, in a flash out of my peripheral vision on my right I see this thing launch into the air, the wingspan seems enormous and it looks like a B52 just taking off, I was thinking what the hell is that?. As it starts to take a path in front of the jeep I see the tail feathers and alarm bells start ringing in my head, holy crap it’s a TURKEY, a REALLY BIG TURKEY…….. BOOM….. You know what they, oh officer it all happened so fast..!!! Now remember the stick shift is still in 5th gear and I am closer to 80 MPH on impact. BOOM…..what the hell…my windshield implodes, my world is blacked out, with the 25 lb tom hitting square in front of my windshield. My mind goes into overdrive and everything is happening at a slow speed. My first thought is I have to slow this Jeep down, I can’t see a damn thing in front of me. I hit the brakes HARD and downshift at the same time, the Jeep careens to the left, I let off the breaks fearing that I am going to roll this sucker, then to the right, Mem is scared literally speechless and is hanging on for dear life. I am still in the middle of the road rocketing down the highway, as I complete the shift the damn turkey comes rolling in slow motion through my windshield, kicking wildly with its legs. When it hit the windshield some of the glass slit part of its neck, it was spraying blood and glass into my face and hair, not to mention it’s still thrashing and kicking legs were tearing at me underneath my neck, I can’t see a bloody thing, my mind was racing I was saying to myself calm down, calm down. You want to talk about a nightmare, man I was living it. I look back on this and I almost never wear my glasses while driving, but I did have them on that day. I think they saved my eyesight from the exploding glass and bloody Turkey parts.Finally, I yank the wheel hard to the right, leave the highway and end up on the berm, once there I slam on the breaks and finally come to a stop. I can’t believe it, the damn Turkey is still in my lap kicking and flopping around. I have had it with this bird, I open the door, grab the bird and smash it to the ground, I then proceed to kick a field goal to the back of the jeep. Mem comes running around to my side of the Jeep, she says oh my God Jim…. I am covered in blood, thank God it wasn’t mine….I have glass particles all over me and in my hair. I open my car door and there's blood and glass all over the dash, seat, and floor, with a perfect hole in my windshield, where mister Turkey made his entrance. Let me tell you, brother, if you know me you know I am a man of faith, I had to have a guardian angel with me in that car that day, I really don’t know how we ever survived. The bloody mess and the now dead turkey lay in a heap 15 yards behind the jeep. People would ask me later on when I would tell them the story, why didn’t you take the Turkey home with you. Man, I wanted nothing to do with that bird from hell, I left him to rot at the side of the road.Ok so now here is the thing, we are about 60 miles from home, I have a BIG hole in the middle of my windshield, and it’s a brisk 18 degrees out. Mem says how on earth are we ever going to get home. I said to her I will stand outside and guide you, get the ice scraper and punch out the rest of the window, we will drive home. We really had no choice, being the holiday we would probably have waited for hours before a tow truck or help would have arrived. I had some rags in the back seat and we cleaned up the blood and glass as best we could, turned the heater on HIGH and away we went. We passed a PA state police on the way home, but he didn’t even blink and saw that I was driving without a complete windshield. Go figure.So YES my friends This Happened to Me, but you know I am still around to tell the tale. God willing and the sun will rise tomorrow, I will still be able to add a few more tales before my final round up.Take Care and May God Bless.JCP….. Turkey killer extraordinaire…..LOL