Life, like football, can be a game of inches.
Miranda Wood knows that. Her 13-year-old daughter, Starla, knows that. So do their three dogs, Harley, a lab, and Mollie and Dodger, both dachshunds.
All five saw their lives pass literally in front of them Sunday on Simmons Road (CR 3540).
First, you scream appropriately, they remembered Monday afternoon.
This is at the same time you’re stomping on the brakes.
Those things put together proved to be just enough.
The reason for the screaming, sliding and braking, is that they looked up and saw a train coming around a curve and barreling down on them, 40 or 50 yards away.
A train can eat up 40 or 50 yards in a second or two. Just ask Starla and her mom.
The dust from the country road flew into the air. The silver van slid up to the railroad track with an inch to spare, Miranda said.
“Oh, my God, we’re going to die,” mother and daughter said in unison.
“We felt like we were in the train,” Miranda said. “We could feel it,” said Starla.
Miranda had the presence of mind to throw the van into reverse, but that set off another near disaster with the vehicle almost rolling back into a ditch.
Then, just as quickly, the train was gone.
“It was a short train,” Miranda said.
Mother and daughter were totaled — at least emotionally. Then, Mom hugged daughter and daughter hugged mom.
“I had a guardian angel who protected me,” Miranda said. “All of us had a guardian angel protecting us. If (the train conductor) hadn’t honked, I’d have been on the track.” Tears still rimmed her eyes more than 24 hours after the near disaster.
Monday, Miranda was analyzing the near mishap. She broke out in tears at odds times.