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Sunday, March 24 2002

Teen death

After hearing about the death of Dino Rudolph, I began thinking of the death of another Nanty Glo senior that had an impact upon me. His name was George Sowolla and I believe he was the class valedictorian in 1957. I could not find any mention of him on the Nanty Glo home page. I believe he died the night of his graduation in a car crash at the intersection of old route 22 and what is now route 271. He ran under a trailer truck. There was another passenger in the car who survived because he was down low. The top of the car was ripped off.

The accident had an impact upon me because some of my friends and classmates came upon the accident and thought it was me. George was driving a 1955 Ford Fairlane that was light blue on the bottom and white above the strip down the middle of the car. I had a 1956 Ford Fairlane that was the same color and at first glance the 1955 and 1956 Fords looked alike. Also, I graduated that year and I had known George when we played in the Little League and from seeing him around town.

When I learned about the accident and friends told me about thinking it was me who was killed, it really made me think seriously, for the first time, about death and my own mortality. Many of my Central Cambria classmates took George's death very hard. We spent a lot of time hanging out in Nanty Glo and knew the kids very well. For some time afterwards, I had nightmares about that intersection. Each time, I would wake as my car was going under a trailer truck.

While looking through the list of students in the 1957 class of Nanty Glo-Vintondale High School, I noted the omission of another name, David Kisic."Satch" as we called him, was a very good friend of mine. His brother John—we called him "Tonto"—is listed in the Nanty Glo High School class of 1955. I would appreciate corrections if any of my above memories are mistaken.

Cute signs

At a towing company: "We don't charge an arm and a leg. We want tows."

On an electrician's truck: "Let us remove your shorts."

In a nonsmoking area: "If we see smoke, we will assume you are on fire and take appropriate action."

On a maternity room door: "Push. Push. Push."

At an optometrist's office: "If you don't see what you're looking for, you've come to the right place."

On a taxidermist's window: "We really know our stuff."

In a podiatrist's office: "Time wounds all heels."

On a fence: "Salesmen welcome! Dog food is expensive."

Sent by Mike Harrison

Lenten thought for the day - forgiveness

Jack took a long look at his speedometer before slowing down: 73 in a 55 zone. Fourth time in as many months. How could a guy get caught so often? When his car had slowed to 10 miles an hour, Jack pulled over, but only partially. Let the cop worry about the potential traffic hazard. Maybe some other car will tweak his backside with a mirror.

The cop was stepping out of his car, the big pad in hand. Bob? Bob from Church? Jack sunk farther into his topcoat. This was worse than the coming ticket. A cop catching a guy from his own church. A guy who happened to be a little eager to get home after a long day at the office. A guy he was about to play golf with tomorrow. Jumping out of the car, he approached a man he saw every Sunday, a man he'd never seen in uniform.

"Hi, Bob. Fancy meeting you like this." "Hello, Jack." No smile. "Guess you caught me red-handed in a rush to see my wife and kids."

"Yeah, I guess." Bob seemed uncertain. Good.

"I've seen some long days at the office lately. I'm afraid I bent the rules a bit—just this once."

Jack toed at a pebble on the pavement. "Diane said something about roast beef and potatoes tonight. Know what I mean?"

"I know what you mean. I also know that you have a reputation in our precinct."

Ouch. This was not going in the right direction. Time to change tactics. "What'd you clock me at?"

"Seventy. Would you sit back in your car please?"

"Now wait a minute here, Bob. I checked as soon as I saw you. I was barely nudging 65." The lie seemed to come easier with every ticket.

"Please, Jack, in the car."

Flustered, Jack hunched himself through the still-open door. Slamming it shut, he stared at the dashboard. He was in no rush to open the window. The minutes ticked by. Bob scribbled away on the pad. Why hadn't he asked for a driver's license? Whatever the reason, it would be a month of Sundays before Jack ever sat near this cop again. A tap on the door jerked his head to the left. There was Bob, a folded paper in hand. Jack rolled down the window a mere two inches, just enough room for Bob to pass him the slip.

"Thanks." Jack could not quite keep the sneer out of his voice. Bob returned to his police car without a word. Jack watched his retreat in the mirror. Jack unfolded the sheet of paper. How much was this one going to cost? Wait a minute. What was this? Some kind of joke? Certainly not a ticket. Jack began to read:

"Dear Jack, Once upon a time I had a daughter. She was six when killed by a car. You guessed it—a speeding driver. A fine and three months in jail, and the man was free. Free to hug his daughters. All three of them. I only had one, and I'm going to have to wait until Heaven before I can ever hug her again. A thousand times I've tried to forgive that man. A thousand times I thought I had. Maybe I did, but I need to do it again. Even now. Pray for me. And be careful, Jack, my son is all I have left. —Bob"

Jack turned around in time to see Bob's car pull away and head down the road. Jack watched until it disappeared. A full 15 minutes later, he too pulled away and drove slowly home, praying for forgiveness and hugging a surprised wife and kids when he arrived.

— Source unknown

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