Some serious musings for September

Mark your calendars.  I am posting two (count ’em – two) posts on one day.

Boys 5Cody Keiper & his buddies in front of our bunkhouse – July 2014.  Cody is the one without his feet on the ground.

A few days ago, one of my grandsons, Cody Keiper, posted on Facebook a text conversation he had with a young woman who drank alcohol at Cody’s house without his knowledge and then drove home.  Here is the Facebook post:

“Almost two months ago, I lost someone that I thought was a good friend. I lost her because I was trying to be a good friend to her. I had friends over playing a card game, nothing else. That night, she drank at my house from a cup that no one would know she had wine in, she drove home that night and left the cup at my house. The following day my brother found the chipotle cup on our bathroom sink, as he picked it up it smelled of alcohol, he told me and showed me to double check.

Excuse any language used in this post, quoting word for word from texts. I will not mention any name either.

I then proceeded to text my friend:

Me: “Drinking and driving is bad”

Her: “who’s drinking and driving?”

Me: “You last night, found your cup in my bathroom”

Her: “Yeah having half a glass of wine totally equals drinking and driving”

Me: “It does, I’m just being a friend and don’t want anything bad to happen.”

Her: “Lol okay”

Me: “Drinking underage and staying inside is one thing, Underage drinking and driving is a serious problem.”

Her: “Okay lol you’re being seriously ridiculous. Calm down and don’t text me about this shit anymore. It’s immaterial.”

Me: “Well coming from someone who’s great grandparents were hit by someone drinking and driving it isn’t immaterial. So I’ll stand my ground here on this subject cause of the accident that killed my great grandfather. And many other accidents that happen due to the same thing every damn day.”

Her: “Okay I’m not swayed by your sob story at all. My fucking mother was hit by a drunk driver. So fuck you for trying to lecture me as though I’m some immature girl. I am responsible and your suggestions otherwise are 1. Laughable and 2. Insulting. I would suggest dropping it, because you’re out of your league, child.”

To conclude, all I was doing was trying to be a good friend and look out for her. What she really told me in this is that we aren’t good friends, because good friends would listen to each other and talk about it like mature human beings. Also if your excuse for drinking and driving is that someone close to you was hit by someone drinking and driving, your mind is opposite of every other person that’s been affected by someone drinking and driving. Isn’t it supposed to be I should never drink and drive cause someone close to me whether it be family or friend or coworker has been hit by someone drinking and driving?

The majority of people have been affected by drinking and driving in some way. The people that haven’t been affected will be at some point in their lives, I hope that they learn it’s a big problem before they get a wake up call.

Why I didn’t share this sooner, I’m not sure. Maybe I thought she would realize how disrespectful she was when someone was trying to be a good friend to her and rethink what she said. I was wrong.” (end of post)

I cannot express how proud I am of Cody for standing his ground.  His great-grandparents (my husband’s parents) were struck by a drunk driver on December 5, 2001.  Franke died at the scene.  Wanita suffered severe injuries to her ankles and lived nearly four more years.

The drunk driver was a 36-year-old mother of three young children.  She was drunk at 5 p.m. on a Wednesday afternoon. There was a male passenger in her car, who was also drunk.  I remember her name well but refuse to include it in this post. She crossed the center line on Hwy 83, just north of Bolivar, Missouri and struck the Hammond’s minivan in the rear quarter. (She thought she was turning left onto a county road but missed the intersection.) She did not stop, but fled the scene and abandoned her vehicle several miles away; and then reported it stolen.  She hid from authorities for days and tried to get the passenger to say he was driving because she had prior arrests for drunk driving. After the impact, the van crashed into a deep culvert and caught fire.  Three drivers stopped to assist and pulled Franke & Wanita from the burning van.  They had to be removed from the back hatch window, which means that two men crawled into the burning vehicle and pulled them out.  We are forever grateful for the intervention of those men.  Franke suffered a broken neck and his sternum punctured his aorta.  He was alive after the initial impact because he said to Wanita “Honey, I am sorry I couldn’t save you”.  Their airbags had deployed after the initial impact and then quickly deflated, so they had no protection for the second impact in the culvert.

Franke & Wanita were married in 1944. They had just celebrated their 57th anniversary.  My husband is their only child.  in more than 50 years of marriage they had never been apart for more than a few days, except for the time Franke served in the Merchant Marine Corps during WWII.  Their love for each other ran deep.  They still hugged and kissed and held hands all the time.  Their marriage was a model for us and our children.

A tragedy like this changes the family dynamic.  It brought ours closer together and sparked an awareness of the criminality of drunk driving.  It is a crime that should be punished like any other crime that involves a deadly weapon.  With a drunk behind the wheel, that vehicle is a deadly weapon.

Those who have not had such a tragedy probably do not understand how deeply it cuts into a family’s everyday lives.  At the time of the wreck, Terry & I owned a small business where we sold painting supplies and held decorative painting classes.  Terry moved to his mother’s home to care for her for several months.  (I have never been more proud of him.) We closed the business eight months afterwards because we just couldn’t live two lives.  In 2003, Wanita came to live with us.  She died in October, 2005, technically of pulmonary fibrosis.  The wreck really ended her life.  She never fully recovered from the injuries and her heart was shattered that day.

Terry & I have been blessed with two great kids, Teresa & Ryan, who have married their soulmates.  They have given us five grandsons: Marcus Hammond (22), Cody Keiper (20), Cole Keiper (18), Jakob Hammond (14), and Carter Hammond (8),  Carter never knew Franke & Wanita; Jakob was 7 months old so he has no memory of them.  The three older boys were terrifically impacted by their great-grandfather’s death.  And they all have taken a stand against drunk driving.

The text conversation is clear evidence of their stand. Coincidentally, Cody posted this text on what would have been Franke’s 92nd birthday – September 23rd.

Granny & Grumpy are so over-the-top proud of Cody! And of Cole for giving the drink cup to Cody!

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Renee Hong
    Sep 26, 2015 @ 15:04:34

    Hats off to your grandsons for standing up for what they believe in. How sad this young lady chose to react in such a way. What a touching story, I’m sorry for your loss.

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  2. B'sue
    Sep 27, 2015 @ 18:07:25

    That is an amazing story, Ginger …..and one that bears repeating again and again. Cody is remarkable. No regrets. He did the right thing , was a true friend……and the young woman revealed that she is no friend to anyone. Thank you for sharing. Keep writing!

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