This morning while driving to work I looked down to change the radio station. For the instant I took my eyes off the road the right-side wheels went on the shoulder of the road which surprised me. I got the car back on the road quickly with no problem.

That reminded me of the time when I was about 18 years old and had worked long hours over night to get an engine running on a tugboat in Beaumont, Texas. Normally when I worked the long hours, I would catch some sleep in one of the bunk rooms of the work-boat before heading back to the shop about 90 miles away.

This time, once the engines were running and all was good, they had to leave port to push barges to Florida. So, I had no choice but to drive back to the shop as the sun rose in the East behind me. I was maxed out on all the coffee I could drink trying to stay away all night while I worked. Before I got on I-10 going west, I stopped at a convenience store to buy something sweet to munch on and a bottle of water. The pickup truck I was driving was one of the shop trucks that had extended mirrors on the doors. As I entered Interstate 10, I set the cruise control and settled in for the hour and half drive. I was so dirty and greasy with engine grease as well as beyond tired. I had been awake for at least 36 hours at that point which was not unusual for the work we did. Everything was going good on the way home; the weather was perfect, and traffic was light. The plan was to drop the truck off at the shop, go home and take a long hot shower and climb into bed and maybe make it back into work in a day or so. Next thing I knew I heard this rumbling noise of the tires rolling over grass on the side of the highway. I looked up just in time to see that I was going under a highway sign with two posts. There was no time to react. There was a loud bang as the two mirrors hit the posts and I laid in on the brakes. I came to a stop not far from the sign, got out and saw the two outside mirrors were destroyed but the rest of the truck did not have a scratch on it. I walked back to the sign and saw where the wheels of the truck went under the sign perfectly in the middle. I am not sure I could have steered the truck that perfectly at 65 miles per hour under the middle of the sign if I tried.

I was wide awake the rest of the drive home. Instead of going to the shop to drop off the truck and pick up my car, I drove straight home. I wanted to be there to explain the mirrors instead of getting calls from the shop while I caught up on sleep.

I showed up for work a day later and I asked my boss, Bruce Stapp to come out to see something. He looked at the driver’s mirror without saying a word. The I pointed out the passenger side mirror was in the same shape. I told him what happened. Then he broke his silence and said, “If you don’t watch out, you are going to wear out your Angels before you are 20 years old.” He turned to go back to his office. He was right, Angels were watching over me that morning.