54: The 115-Pound Miracle

54: The 115-Pound Miracle

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miracles Happen

The 115-Pound Miracle

Nothing has more strength than dire necessity.


“Hand me that wrench, Tammy.”

I did what my Pappaw Luther said. I was about ten years old, and hunkered down near a car he had jacked up and was working on. A light gray one with a black top.

I didn’t give his mechanic work a second thought. He’d lain under cars before, fixing them, and I’d seen him do it a dozen times. He lay on his back underneath in the gravel, only his head and shoulders visible. The rest of him, from chest down, was under the car.

It was a pretty summer day. Life on my grandparents’ farm was quiet that day, with almost everyone having attended the funeral of a relative. My mother didn’t want to attend, so she volunteered to babysit all the kids—my siblings and cousins. Usually the yard would be full of running, playing, laughing kids.

It was a one-hundred-acre farm, and my pappaw worked on the car in front of his house.

I liked hanging out with my pappaw once in a while. He was a man of few words, but when he talked, he liked to explain how things worked and what he was doing. He was a diesel mechanic and farmer, and could build or fix anything with his hands. I looked up to him and thought he could do anything—invincible.

That’s why my brain was so frozen and stunned when the jack slipped and the car fell straight down onto his chest with a sickening thump.

He couldn’t move, and the only sound was a slight gasp of “Get Dana,” so I ran as fast as I could toward the trailer my mother, sister, and brother lived in.

My mouth opened to scream to my mother as I ran, but no sound would come out. My voice had frozen in my throat.

Finally I reached the door, and I screamed, “The car fell on Pappaw! The car fell on Pappaw!”

My mother and I ran back to the car, and he still lay as he had when I left—trapped under the car on his back.

My mother gripped the bumper of the car and lifted it, urging, “Scoot out! Scoot out!”

Pappaw scooted in the gravel, and my mother scooted the car over and set it back down.

My mother couldn’t have weighed more than 115 pounds.

I couldn’t believe my eyes. At ten, I knew something extraordinary had happened, but, on the other hand, it seemed like a perfectly normal thing for a person to do when a car crushes someone’s chest.

My mother ran to the farmhouse to call an ambulance.

“I don’t want to go to the hospital,” my pappaw said. “With this hole in my sock.”

Well, he did go to the hospital, and the doctors were amazed that he only had some bruises.

“It should have killed him,” the doctor said.

At the time I thought of the incident as amazing, but now as an adult, I believe it was a miracle. Two miracles really. One, that my mom lifted the car and scooted it over. And, two, that Pappaw had only some bruises.

People claim adrenaline, and I don’t doubt that. But the truth of the matter is, not everyone in a state of panic can lift a car, and not every person who has a car fall on his chest survives with just a few bruises.

All I know is that I witnessed firsthand the power of miracles that summer day so long ago.

~Tammy Ruggles

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