Cinco de Mayo! or as I call it…Happy To Be Alive Day!

It is Cinco de Mayo and that means I’m re-sharing this post from 2010 about how this holiday became my favorite.

 

Have you ever had a near death experience?   Seen the light, so to speak?  Well, today is the 17th anniversary of mine, and I am thrilled to be here telling you about it.  But first, I have to tell you about the most fun I ever had on Cinco de Mayo…

It was in the mid-90’s and my son, Greg, was living in NYC.  A friend of mine from my days in radio owned a promotion’s company for Corona Beer and they had a big event planned for Manhattan on Cinco de Mayo.  We would meet at another friends office at WCBS and then load into limo’s and spread ’Cheer’s and Ole’s’, not to mention Corona and Cuervo, to 6 restaurants across the city… what fun!

WCBS is the oldies station and they have a red 1957 Chevy limo they use for this sort of event. It is gorgeous!  I had contacted Greg to join me at the station and participate in spreading the ‘joy’, so to speak.  He gladly obliged.  Little did we know we would be in the vintage limo with … A Mariachi Band!

We would pull up outside a restaurant and the promotions director would jump out and shout “It’s Cinco de Mayo! Corona and Cuervo for everyone!!” Then the Mariachi band would jump out and play.  It was a blast.  We had so much fun!

By the time we reached the final restaurant for dinner, many of us were slightly intoxicated.  I can’t drink tequila, so I had none of the free-flowing Cuervo, just the Corona.  Greg on the other hand…

So we get settled in the restaurant and I don’t see Greg. They had banquettes along the wall and finally, I see his head, barely above the table where all the interns were sitting… “Hi, Mom! I’m at the kids’ table.”  Thank God he was taking public transportation home, and I was staying the night in NYC!  We remember that night every year with a great laugh and a Corona.  Without Greg along it would have just been another event, but sharing it with him made it special.

Now for the BIG Cinco de Mayo event…

May 5th, 2000, I was heading down the Shore.  It was a beautiful Rag Top Day and of course, I had the top down on my VW Cabrio.  Suddenly, about a mile from my exit on the Garden State Parkway, I felt a strange vibration and instantly knew the car was going to roll off the highway.  In my head was the strangest kind of calm you could ever imagine.  I heard this angelic voice saying, “You’re going to be fine, you’re going to be fine…” And for the most part, I was.  When the car landed, (I was told it went airborne and flipped 3 times!) I was sort of hanging almost upside down and desperately trying to remove my seat belt.  I was afraid the car might go up in flames.

I saw 2 guys come running across the median yelling, “We’ll get you out!” and they did.  I was in shock, I’m sure but honestly felt ok.  Except for my right arm, which was broken.  And you can’t imagine the bruising!

The most miraculous part, to me, was how many people were there with me on the median of the Garden State Parkway, and I swear to you most of them were medical professionals.  There were two paramedics who were heading back from the city. A nurse who was in the car behind me when I flipped, so I’m sure it was pretty traumatic for her to watch, but she was kind enough to ask if there was anyone she could call. I asked her to call my daughter-in-law who was waiting for me in Ocean City. 

There was a man who insisted I lie down and when I told him I was looking for my phone he put his thumb in the middle of my forehead and forced me to lie down. “I’m the head of surgery at Shore Memorial and I’m telling you to lie down!” he said. Then he found my phone and called Dave.

This was before the official rescue crew showed up!  It was incredible. 

But the one thing I will never forget was the woman who was in charge of that official crew.  She was clearly in charge. I Loved that.  Until she started yelling, “Where’s my bird, dammit?” And I realized she was talking about a helicopter! I begged her to take me in an ambulance because I was afraid to fly… to which she responded… “Honey, if you were going to die today, you’d be dead now!”

I was fortunate enough to meet her at a store opening several years later. They were receiving a donation and I recognized her immediately. When I approached her and told her how she handled everything her friend said, “Yeah, that sounds like you!” I simply wanted to thank her. She was very kind and appreciative. Life is GOOD!

23 comments

  1. ElizOF

    “Where’s my bird, dammit?” Oh, I am still rolling on the floor laughing at that classic line… Thank God you were okay. What a dramatic story!
    You are here just because… 🙂
    E

    • Barbara

      Thanks, Elizabeth! It was quite an experience. I am always grateful to be here!
      xob

  2. Lee Romano Sequeira

    Your story gave me goosebumps Barbara!
    And when VW finds you and gives you and Peg's Presents a new VWs I'll get them again! 🙂

  3. Lee Romano Sequeira

    Your story gave me goosebumps Barbara!
    And when VW finds you and gives you and Peg's Presents a new VWs I'll get them again! 🙂

    • Barbara

      From your lips to God’s (and VW’s) ears, Lee!

  4. ElizOF

    “Where’s my bird, dammit?” Oh, I am still rolling on the floor laughing at that classic line… Thank God you were okay. What a dramatic story!
    You are here just because… 🙂
    E

  5. Pingback: Caution: Attitude Adjustment Ahead! | Zero to 60 and Beyond

  6. I am SO glad you are still here!! What a frightening and beautiful story at the same time!!

    • Barbara

      I try to think of it as a beautiful story, Doreen. I’m grateful I wasn’t killed, yet aware of the ‘wake up call’. God moves in mysterious ways!
      b

  7. Bryce Warden

    Wow. Right place, right time and perhaps an angel or two…..glad you are OK.

    • Barbara

      At least an angel or two, Bryce! Forever grateful.
      b

  8. Cathy Lawdanski

    Wow! What a story! Amazing how God provided all those people at just the right time to help you. Glad it was OK. And I love your Cinco de Mayo memory with your son!

    • Barbara

      The Cinco de Mayo with my so is very special and close to my heart! Thanks for stopping by, Cathy!
      b

  9. Carolann

    Oh my gosh! I was getting chills just reading your story. I’m so glad you were ok and everyone was there helping you out. I know that highway. How the heck did you end up flipping over like that? It is dangerous for sure.

    • Barbara

      My right rear tire blew completely off the wheel! No idea what caused it and no one ever found the remains of the tire. Crazy!

  10. Doreen McGettigan

    I am still glad you are still here and reading this again is a reminder to be grateful for every second with our loved ones and friends because they can be gone in a second.

    • Barbara

      So true!

  11. hillsmom

    Holy Smokes! What made the car flip like that…do you know?

  12. hillsmom

    Oops! I see you answered the question about the cause of the flip before I read that far. Congratulations on your survival.

    • Barbara

      Thanks! I was actually surprised the tire didn’t hit another car. That could have caused quite a pile-up!
      b

  13. Kathy @ SMART Living 365.com

    Happy Post Cinco de Mayo Barbara! What a great story but your near death experience is even better! Not many people have two stories like that to tell about the same date. So glad you came through that experience and are here to tell about it.

    • Barbara

      Thanks, Kathy! me, too!
      b

  14. Lee Romano Sequeira

    Cinco is a great day to celebrate — have an extra margarita for your guardian angel too!

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