When I first left home for college, my mother was a real stickler about safety. I can not really count all the lectures I endured about safety, that, while well meaning, were not really subjects I was mostly interested in as I left home for the first time. Of particular non-interest on my agenda were the many lessons about driving safety. Mom liked to drone on and on about how I should always keep my car well-stocked with emergency items such as flashlights and blankets because "you can never tell what is going to happen." I ignored such advice, but before I left home, Mom made sure to stock my vehicle with plenty of blankets in the trunk and a surefire flashlight, streamlight flashlight, two led pelican flashlights, and a mini maglite stored in the glove compartment (along with all the appropriate batteries.)
I roled my eyes, but never got around to clearing out the glove compartment. As life has a way of doing, ever, my mother's words came back to haunt me on the night that my mini maglite saved my life!
I was driving down an old country road (one of many in the great Midwest) late one night after a party, and to my great irritation and surprise, I had a flat tire. Pulling over the side of the road, I cursed my luck, and opened my glove compartment. I had little choice but to listen to Mom's wisdom this time around, since the country road lacked any street lights. Looking through the choices, I finally picked up the mini maglite, primarily because it was the closest. Testing the batteries, I opened my door and stepped out into the side of the road.
I'd had the misfortune to have my flat tire on a piece of road that stretched between two forested areas. I figured since I was on a pretty abandoned piece of road, it would be easier and quicker to simply change the tire myself, rather than wait around on roadside assistance.
I walked nonchalantly back toward the trunk of the car, and when I was about six inches from the trunk, the light from my mini maglite picked up on the unmistakable brown and black markings of the timber rattlesnake.
Timber rattlesnakes are rare in this particular part of the Midwest, and it would not have even had dawned on me to check for any type of snake, had I not had my trusty flashlight sidekick in my hands.
Backing carefully and slowly away, as to not disturb the snake, I opened the door and got back into my car. I used my cell phone to call for the roadside assistance I had been wary of before.
It took the kind people a good hour to find me, and the whole time, all I could wonder is what if I had actually been bitten by that snake? Would they have taken that long to find me, while the rattlesnake's venom took its toll on my body?
I'm certain they would have, and for that reason, I am positive that my mini maglite saved my life.