Has to be a first of some kind

By Steve Estes

Strictly Drivel by Steve Estes

Our adventures during weekly newspaper deliveries have been unique, varied and in some cases downright weird.

For instance, about 10 years ago we believe that we spotted a rare Florida panther behind a building on Summerland Key.

Last year, we were delivering in Marathon when the wildfire broke out on Big Pine Key less than a quarter-mile from our house.

Several years ago, we wound up giving a ride to a round-the-world solo sailor who had done a favor for a fellow sailor and wound up in Marathon with his boat in Ft. Lauderdale.

But last week, I believe we encountered a first during all these years we have been tossing newspapers out the window up and down the Keys.

It was something that had to happen eventually.

Our time frame is fairly concrete. We hit the road around 9 a.m., motor to Miami Lakes, pick up the papers, drive back to the Keys, roll the papers into bags for smaller deliveries and drop bundles in dozens of locations.

We hit Marathon around the start of most happy hours and are usually out of town before happy hour is over.

We do hit at least two separate off-work rushes, which all occur at about 10 minutes past the hour in Marathon. We don’t get that once we hit the east end of Big Pine.

What we get in Big Pine is the end of happy hour at several locations.

Oh yeah.

And that accounts for our first, I do believe.

I have heard of vehicles being run over by other vehicles. I have heard of vehicles being run over by animals. I have heard of vehicles being run over by heavy equipment.

We’ve heard stories of vehicles where all manner of strange objects have fallen from the sky and hit the vehicle.

But not us….Noooooo. We can’t be that conventional.

I believe that we are the first vehicle in the history of Big Pine Key to be run over by a human on a skateboard.

So we were delivering a local watering hole last week, a location we’ve delivered to every week for nearly 13 years without a single mishap other than occasionally getting stuck behind a slow-moving vehicle.

But this time, we dropped the requisite number of bags at the door and were leaving to head to the next location when a guy on a skateboard came ripping off the sidewalk, from around the corner of the building, and without slowing down at all, slammed right into the side of the new Jeep.

I don’t know how fast he was going, but it had to be in excess of 15 miles per hour. There wasn’t enough time to even hit the brakes, and my reflexes, though slower than 20 years ago, still aren’t bad. I was travelling slow enough it didn’t even register on the speedometer.

One second I was looking down the driveway looking for traffic I might have to avoid, and the next second this partially inebriated guy on a skateboard was whipping out from behind the corner of the building and slamming face first into the front fender.

He bounced off the car, lost control of the skateboard, which ricocheted off the tire and back onto the sidewalk, but never lost his footing.

Nor did he ever lose the lit cigarette he held in his hand as he hit the ground with both feet.

He actually walked back to the driver window of the car and asked us if we were OK.

I almost fell out of the seat.

I got out of the car and quickly checked the kid over (I have children his age or more so he’s a kid to me) to make sure there was no spurting blood or protruding bones.

I returned the concern and asked him if he was OK.

He said yes.

And then, with absolute aplomb, asked us if we had seen a wallet lying on the ground anywhere.

If I had been in the seat I would have fallen out of it.

And added to the comedy.

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