During the “dog days of summer”, you wouldn’t necessarily think of warm blankets as being essential, but it’s amazing how much they can help in some pretty unexpected ways.
Almost two years ago, we got an Ivy Hawkins waterproof utility blanket from Sam’s Club, and we anxiously added it to our car kit. Most people think of blankets in the winter, and that was in fact when we got it, but we purchased it with the intention of keeping it in the car all the time.
This particular blanket claimed to be 100% waterproof, and if I recall correctly, the product packaging featured someone using it in rain and snow to change a tire. Sounds useful, right? And along with the fact that it’s waterproof, it also came with a built-in strap that made condensing the blanket easy. Again, we thought this would be a useful feature in our car.
Fortunately, we hadn’t had cause to use the blanket for anything other than a seat protector until this spring. We attended a friend’s outdoor wedding, and it POURED. I had a poncho with me, but I gave that to one of my boys, so I grabbed the blanket and used it like a cape. It kept me dry and warm, and I thought it was worth every penny we paid for it.
Fast forward now to last Friday. My daughter had gone out with friends to a football game, and her friend’s mom was going to bring her home since my husband had to work late. My daughter texted me that she was going to be a bit late because traffic was awful at the high school, so I put on my jammies and laid down to watch some TV.
Fred came home earlier than expected, and we had just settled in to watch some Star Trek reruns on Netflix when the phone rang. It was my daughter, and I wasn’t prepared for what happened next. She was as calm as she could be as she proceeded to tell me that they’d been in a car accident. It took me a minute to realize what she was telling me because she was so calm.
“We just got hit.”
“You just got hit? Where?”
“We got rear-ended.”
“No. Where are you?”
“We’re in the ditch.”
“On our property?”
“Is anyone hurt?”
“No. We’re just in the ditch.”
“OK. We’ll be right up there.” Then I hung up the phone, grabbed my phone, slid on some shoes and headed outside.
I knew that it was unusually cool for an August night in Indiana, but I didn’t bother putting on more clothing. The shorts and t-shirt I’d planned to sleep in were going to have to suffice so that I could make sure everyone was OK and render aid if needed.
When I got up to the ditch, everyone had climbed out of both cars and they were all just kind of milling around. My daughter was such a help because she was able to answer questions calmly, and when I reminded both drivers to put on their emergency lights, my daughter ended up being the one who turned on the blinkers for the car she’d been riding in. The driver was still pretty shaken up.
After we made sure that everyone was OK and we got people out of the road, I called 911 and got the sheriff headed out our way. After that, there was nothing to do but manage the scene and wait.
It was then that I realized people were probably going to need blankets. It was in the 50s at that point, and there were two small children and three folks who weren’t wearing adequate clothing for the weather. In fact, the driver of the other vehicle was wearing shorts and a shirt that left most of her torso exposed. Combine that with the fact that everyone was pretty emotional because of the crash and you have a nice recipe for very cold people.
My 9-year-old son was such a help. He grabbed the blanket from our car kit and ran it to the driver of the other vehicle. Then he went inside to grab more blankets from the house, and finally, he even ended up grabbing some jackets. It was the least we could do, and I actually think that it helped to keep folks calmer when they weren’t shivering in the chilly night air.
The sheriff’s deputy who responded to the scene seemed so surprised that we had intervened the way we had. My husband brought his mower up to the road so we could have more light and he was prepared to help pull the car my daughter had been riding in to a spot in the yard where it had a chance of being driven away. We tried as best we could to see to everyone’s emotional and physical needs because it’s the right thing to do, and the officer said that he just wasn’t used to seeing that. I confess that made me a bit sad and even angry because I’d want strangers to treat my family the way I treated the folks who were involved in that crash.
It wasn’t until the driver of the other vehicle returned our car blanket that I realized how important something like a piece of fabric could be in a situation like that though. She seemed so grateful as she handed it to me, and I was thinking, “I’m glad such a simple thing could make such a big difference.”
We think about needing blankets when it’s cold outside. We might even think about blankets being used to make a tire change more comfortable and less dirty. Some of us might even think about using blankets to treat shock in folks who’re badly injured. I hadn’t really thought about blankets being used in Indiana in August to keep people warm though. They were useful though, and you better believe that if we have an opportunity to get another blanket like the one we got at Sam’s Club, we’ll certainly be doing that. We’ll probably be giving some as gifts too!