As a young girl growing up in England in the 1970s and 1980s, you are brought up to believe that everything is bigger in America. The movies, we call them films, books and American tourists at the Tower of London and Buckingham Palace all proved this.
What they don’t warn you about are road kill and wild animals. Oh my goodness – you have got to be joking – deer, opossums (still not really sure what they are to tell you the truth), and even armadillos. But what really freaked me out the first time I came to coastal Georgia were the buzzards on the side of the road devouring carcasses.
Now, I know they are all God’s creatures and serve a useful purpose in cleaning up the environment, but they did and still do make me shudder. We don’t see many buzzards in England, and my experience of wildlife outside of zoos only really extended to urban foxes and squirrels in London.
So my husband and I were driving down Hwy. 17 for the first time back in 2004 when I screech and point at these creatures. “What’s wrong?” asked my long suffering husband. “Those things – they are like something out of a horror movie or Stephen King novel,” I replied. “Don’t worry, sweetie,” he reassured me, “they won’t bother you.” He couldn’t have been more wrong.
Picture this: I am driving down Belfast Siding Road on a beautiful sunny September afternoon, 5 miles under the speed limit and happy in my lovely Toyota (remember I learned to drive on the left and had to adapt and pass the state’s driving test). All is well with the world, then splat!
An enormous buzzard drops like a stone from the sky and lands on my windshield, shattering it. I screamed – I think I had cause this time – but was able to keep control of my car and pull off the road. Toyota may have had a lot of bad press in the past year, but that reinforced safety glass saved my life I believe – thank the Lord.
I called my husband, who was out of town on business. He calmed me down and told me to drive home while he sorted out a repair and got my stepson to check on me.
So, this would not have happened in jolly ol’ England, but only in America would two lovely men appear on my doorstep the next morning and courteously repair my windshield for $350. In England, when I had less dramatic run-ins with rocks hitting the windscreen (as we call it over there), nothing has been this effortless or speedy to put right.
God bless America!
Francis was born and raised in England and moved to Richmond Hill in 2009. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.