Once in a while, something so inexplicable, so unelievable and incredible happens, that a person just has to believe that there is more than luck at hand.
One of those somethings happened here, on the night of February 1st, in the middle of a winter so nasty it would make any of us wonder who hates us up there.
I was listening to the scanner while I worked on the newspaper in the office - the words from the county 911 dispatcher were chilling. Car went off the slick road and crashed... rolled over twice... south of Sioux Rapids... help needed... and then the worst - "one month old baby was ejected."
Oh lord - a newborn baby. So helpless and fragile.
I've seen a lot of accidents in my life as a reporter - way too much blood and twisted steel. I know the odds for the circumstances I hear unfolding in those 911 calls. This child did not have a chance.
And then they found the baby - her name is Maysen - about 20 feet from the car, where it had been violently hurled by the force of the crash.
Sitting upright in his child seat - unharmed, not a scratch on her.
Look, this doesn't happen. Not in a crash like this.
We asked the cops to explain how it could be. They couldn't. It doesn't happen.
And then two days later, it happened again. Over on Interstate 29, not so far from here, a familys' van slid off the winter-slicked road and rolled over - ejecting a 3-month old baby girl named Adrianna. Again the worst was presumed. Adrianna was found, sitting safe in her torn-away car seat, well away from the van. She was checked at the hospital and released the next day, and will be fine.
Unbelievable. Just unbelievable. I wonder if those two babies will grow up and meet some day?
A couple of thoughts come to mind here.
One, thank goodness for child safety seats. They are the best invention of my lifetime, I think - far more valuable than a space shuttle. Parents, ever been making a short trip and you're frazzled and short on time, and it would be so easy to skip the hassle and just set your child on the seat or your lap just this one time?
Think of Maysen and Adrianna if you are ever tempted. That should do it.
One other thing - if you ever needed a reason to have faith in whatever you choose to believe in, here it is.
Miracle is a word that gets overused a lot. For outcomes of sports or a snow day that calls of school on the day you forgot to study for the big test.
Real miracles don't happen very often, but it did this winter - twice in a couple of days.
We're quick to cuss out the powers above to suffering upon us a long, bad, maddening winter.
Bad as it's been, in the miraculous survival of these two precious babies, we come out of it on the plus side in my book.
Believe what you will, but on a dark and icy road in northwest Iowa, with a baby hurtling to what should certainly, absolutely have been a tragedy, I'm going to believe that there was a hand there to catch them gently in its palm and set them down save, and save them for whatever it is the future holds for Maysen and Adrianna.
I've led the moaning all winter, cussing out snow and cold and ice and wind, snot and shoveling.
Don't know about you, but my heart has changed.
I'll be remembering the season of 2009-10 as the Winter of Little Miracles.
And now, for something completely different
I can't stay serious for long, of course, so on the subject of the police beat, let's finish this space with a bit of fun.
Here's my Top Ten list for things you should never say to the Storm Lake policeman or BV County deputy who pulls you over:
10. "I loved you on 'Smokey and the Bandit!' Autograph?
9. "Forget how fast I was going - you caught me, so you must have been faster. I'm making a citizen's arrest."
8. "Are those pants reversable?"
7. "The cub scout jamboree ended a week ago, son."
6. "While you're writing that ticket, could you just pencil in your sister's phone number on the back?"
5. "Can I hold your gun?"
4. "Of course I don't know how fast I was going. The little needle stops at 110."
3. "Didn't I see you in The Village People? It's great that they let you guys keep the outfits."
2. "Is this the part where I can request a full cavity search?"
... and number 1:
"I can't reach my license unless you hold my beer..."